Hello, friends! Today, we’re reviewing three books by author Florenza Lee: The Tail Of Max The Mindless Dog and Barry Bear’s Very Best, both illustrated by Michelle Wynn, and Welcome Home Daddy: Love, Lexi, illustrated by Maria Guevara.
In The Tail Of Max, we are introduced to the titular pup, who spends all his time habitually chasing his tail until his friend Ross teaches him how to redirect his behavior through mindful meditation. In Barry Bear, the character, an exceptionally well-behaved young bear, is confronted will peers who are bad influences. And in Welcome Home Daddy, a soldier’s daughter deals with the difficulties of her dad’s deployment.
Our reactions to all three were mixed; while packed with well-intentioned and positive messages, there are areas where each falters to a degree. Max is the strongest of the group, offering a clever metaphor for the vicious cycle of stress and habit, and offering readers simple and effective tools for managing these. But while the illustrations are quite charming, the story simply drags on one act longer than it needs to. Barry Bear has good advice of what to do when confronted with peer-pressure (namely, talk to your parents), but Barry is so impeccably pious that it makes him difficult to relate to. There’s also very little rise and fall in action, so the story becomes a bit repetitive by the end. And while I applaud Welcome Home for highlighting the lives of military families, the story just tackles too much. Beginning as an introduction to the life of the loved ones of deployed soldiers, it takes a sharp left turn when Lexi’s father is severely wounded, and the issue is handled a little too cutely and neatly. So while Welcome Home and Barry were not for us, we can recommend Max, a sweet story with useful advice. Baby Bookworm approved!
(Note: Copies of these books were provided to The Baby Bookworm by the author in exchange for an honest review.)