Author: Billi Tiner
Year published: 2011
Number of pages: 164
Recommended age: 8+
Child Rating: ★★★★½
Grown-up Rating: ★★★★½
Reviewed by: Renee and Danielle (Mother and Daughter)
Summary (from the back cover): Welcome Home is the story of Jake, a black Labrador Retriever mix. For as long as Jake can remember, he has been having the same dream. In his dream, he is living in a beautiful home with a wonderful owner. He has never seen the face of the man in the dream, but he knows his voice and he loves him. When it is time for Jake to be given away to a new home, he is very excited that he will finally be able to meet the man he has been dreaming of his entire life. However, when he is chosen, it is definitely not by the man from his dream! Jake is taken to a home where he is terribly mistreated. After suffering years of abuse, Jake finally escapes and embarks on an incredible journey to find the man from his dream. Along the way, Jake meets some interesting characters, survives exciting adventures, and forms some life-long friendships. Join Jake on his incredible journey.
What it’s about:This book is about A dog named Jake who goes on an adventure to find a man he has been dreaming about his entire life.
What I liked and disliked about it: I thought the story was really good. I liked that at the end Jake finally found the man in his dreams because I like happy endings in books. I liked that there were kittens in the story because I like kittens. I wish I was the man in Jake’s dream so that he would come looking for me and he would come live with me.
I was worried when bad things happened to Jake but it was still ok to read because I knew things were going to get better.
My bottom line: I love love loved this book and I think kids 7 and older would like this book!!
What it’s about: Welcome Home tells the moving tale of a black Labrador Retriever, Jake, as he follows his dream of finding his one true master – a man he can only recognize by the kindness in his voice. We are introduced to Jake as he gets adopted by a cruel man intent on raising the gentle puppy into a fighter. Jake withstands years of abuse at his owner’s hands until one day he escapes and begins his journey. Follow Jake along his adventure as he meets new friends and encounters a series of obstacles he must overcame in pursuing his dream.
What I liked and disliked about it: This story is narrated through Jake’s eyes and it reminded me of some classic films where the main character is a dog, such as Big Red and Old Yeller. The closest comparison would truly be the Incredible Journey – a book I loved, loved, loved when I was my daughter’s age. We all fell in love with Jake and it is so fitting that he was a black Labrador Retriever mix because we have friends with this kind of dog and he is just a big marshmallow – just like Jake! There is a gentleness and sweetness that comes across in the story that just melted our hearts.
Overall, the plot itself is incredibly moving and engaging. Jake has a series of adventures and meets up with an assortment of characters, both human and animal, who represent one of the two extremes: either they are trying to hurt Jake or they become Jake’s friends. The story has the right amount of tension for children aged 8+. I found myself tearing up and my voice breaking trying to read the last part of the story. I suppose this suggests that I was emotionally invested in the story!
That being said, there was one significant difference between many of the “animal” stories that I’ve read in the past and this story. This story begins with Jake suffering greatly. We are introduced to Jake when he is still with his cruel owner and the abuse he suffers is described quite graphically. I read the story to my two children and I think they were a bit taken aback by Jake’s suffering. I wasn’t sure they would last through the first few chapters. There were other incidents as the story developed, but these were balanced by more pleasant encounters with humans and animals.
My bottom line: Call me sentimental, but I really enjoyed this story if only because it reminded me of some of the classic stories with animals as main characters – Black Beauty, The Incredible Journey, Charlotte’s Web, and the Call of the Wild to name a few. I would highly recommend this book along the same vein as these books. Due to the graphic descriptions of abuse and injury, I would recommend this book to boys and girls aged 8 and up.
** Welcome Home by B. Tiner was provided to us free-of-charge by the author. **
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