Book Reviews


Reviewed by Jennie More for Readers’ Favorite

Dog Tales award
Winner of the 2020 Mom’s Choice Awards Honoring Excellence. Gold Award Recipient for Juvenile Books (Level 1 – Ages 5 to 8).

When a Virus Takes Over the World by Patricia A. Brill, Ph.D. aims to educate children on the Corovirus pandemic, including what is a virus, how it spreads, how to protect yourself and others, and what you can do while at home. The story takes the form of a dialogue between a seemingly younger dog named Porshe Bella and her friend Turbo who appears older and knows a lot about the Coronavirus. During this dialogue, Porshe Bella poses numerous questions about the virus, and Turbo answers them. Although initially unsure of her surroundings, Porshe Bella becomes more settled as Turbo shares information regarding the virus and assures her that everything will be okay if she follows the rules.

When a Virus Takes Over the World by Patricia A. Brill, Ph.D. is a wonderful resource for kids to help them cope with routine changes and adopt protective measures. The illustrations are colorful and bright, with two beautiful dogs as the key players in this book. I love the song in the book that little ones can sing to ensure they wash their hands for at least 20 seconds. It was already challenging for parents to get children to follow standard rules before the pandemic started, but the additional measures may have placed much more pressure on parents. It could be tough to explain these measures to children, and the constant “why” questions can be trying. When a Virus Takes Over the World by Patricia A. Brill, Ph.D. puts it all into perspective in a simple, effective, comprehensive, and engaging format.

The Power of Kindness and Treats! cover

Reviewed by Jennie More for Readers’ Favorite

The Power of Kindness and Treats! by Patricia A. Brill, Ph.D. is the story of a young dog, Porshe Bella, who is planning a birthday party and asks her friend, Turbo, to go with her and invite her friends to the party on Saturday. Porshe Bella is very excited because she expects to get lots of presents from her friends. Turbo agrees to go with her but suggests that she donates her presents to the dog shelter for dogs waiting to be adopted because they never receive presents. Agreeing to his suggestion, Porshe Bella invites her friends and tells them that she plans to donate their gifts to the dog shelter. Turbo then encourages her to invite other dogs in the park, ones she doesn’t know, to her birthday party. He explains to her the importance of being kind, paying it forward, and helping others make friends.

Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers’ Favorite

Reader's Favorite - Five Star Award

Review Rating: 5 Stars – Congratulations on your 5-star review!

“Success takes hard work, but it will be worth it in the end. Never give up on your dream because you failed. Failure allows you to learn from your mistakes and then take a different approach to achieve your dream.” In Keep Chasing Your Dreams and You’ll Get Treats! by Patricia A. Brill, readers learn that Turbo is a very wise dog. He’s Shelby’s mentor and coach, helping Shelby overcome her fear of failing. You see, Shelby, an adopted dog, dreams of winning at agility, but she’s small and the bigger dogs make fun of her. Turbo insists that she tries anyway and coaches her at night when no one is around. As Shelby’s confidence increases, so do her ability. Yes, she still fails, but she gets up again and tries even harder. There’s nothing sweeter than success earned by hard work and determination.

Patricia A. Brill’s picture book Keep Chasing Your Dreams and You’ll Get Treats! is an engaging little story to encourage young readers not just to believe and to dream big, but also to believe in themselves. The plot follows Shelby as she trains with Turbo and gains confidence both on the agility field and off. The language is simple and easy to read to help young readers improve their language skills. The illustrations are bright, bold, and colorful and certainly help move the story along. Young readers will instantly fall in love with both Shelby and Turbo and they’ll be cheering for Shelby as she finally takes the big challenge and competes in the agility competition. Even when she improves, Shelby has her doubts, but Turbo keeps pushing her forward, making her try harder and believe in herself. This is an empowering, educational, and entertaining story that will appeal to young readers.

No Treats for Bullies! cover

Reviewed by Lesley Jones for Readers’ Favorite

2018 Book of the Year Award – Creative Child Magazine Award program. 2018 Mom’s Choice Awards Honoring Excellence. Silver Award Recipient for “No Treats for Bullies!” Juvenile Books (Level 1 – Ages 5 to 8): Self-Improvement.

In No Treats for Bullies! by Patricia A. Brill, PhD, poor little Porsche Bella is afraid to go to the park and play with her friends. She is being bullied by a bigger dog and doesn’t know what to do. Luckily, her friend, Turbo, has the answer, as he was once a bully himself and realized how wrong that was when he found his forever home. Porsche Bella decides to take Turbo’s advice and nervously goes to the park, where she discovers that the bully needs her help. Will the bullying dog stop his naughty ways? This delightful book will explore the negative and damaging consequences of bullying others. As parents read this book with their children, they can discuss the problem of bullying and how it makes the other person feel. This book will entertain young readers while also teaching them excellent values.

No Treats for Bullies! is a simple but thought-provoking story that is a perfect bedtime read for youngsters and their parents. It has a great message behind the story, which is that you should not be cruel to others, and that words can hurt deeply. I loved the introduction by Turbo. The illustrations were perfect for the story and could be used by parents as an opening to discuss how bullying affects others. A poignant story that encourages children to speak out if they are the victim of bullying. I love the character of Porsche Bella; she is a victim that finds the courage to face her bully, and then triumphs. This book will teach children to show kindness and tolerance to others, but to always ask for help if they need it. No Treats for Bullies! would make a perfect addition to a school library.

The Children’s Book Review

In this latest addition to the Dog Tales Collection, author Patricia A. Brill, PhD has created a story dedicated to children who stand up to bullies and support each other. This tale explores what it means to stand up for someone that is being bullied from the viewpoint of a dog.

Porsche Bella is avoiding the dog park because she is afraid of the unkindness she experiences there. Her brother Turbo is ready to do the right thing and support her. He empowers her by saying, “I will always be there for you. Together we can solve any problem.” However, Porsche doesn’t want to be called a tattletale or appear weak. Turbo doesn’t back down and continues with words of encouragement, “…remember, the best thing you can do is stand up for yourself and be proud of who you are.” After a dog meeting at the park, the dogs agree to make their park “bully free,” and an opportunity presents itself to show the bully what it means to be a friend.

Turbo embodies a strength that comes from his experience as a former bully. Turbo is incredibly wise, always knows the right thing to say, and is a very positive role model for young readers. The jovial rhyming poem at the end of the story is a fun way to summarize the main points and deliver the conclusive message:

“If you’re gonna be a bully and have your way

No Treats No Treats for you today!”

In a very straightforward manner, this story shows the effects that bullying can have on someone and the importance of standing up for and helping those in need. An added bonus is the reassuring message that one can learn from one’s mistakes. Recommended for ages 5 through 8.

Do Bad Dogs Get Cancer? cover

22nd Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards

Book Award
Winner of the 2016 Reader’s Favorite Silver Award in the Children – Animal Category. 2014 Mom’s Choice Awards Honoring Excellence. Silver Award Recipient for “Do Bad Dogs Get Cancer?” Juvenile Books (Level 1 – Ages 5 to 8): Self-Improvement.

Judge #34’s Commentary:

Do Bad Dogs Get Cancer? is a charming book. As the close friend of a woman whose boxer died of cancer, I couldn’t help but be thrilled with the manner in which this story is told, the sweet illustrations, and the uplifting spirit of hope that permeates the tale. Cancer, its symptoms, and the side effects of treatment are explained with simple grace. Brill’s book could not fail to help any dog lover, adult or child, who is worried about a dog who is sick. Although the blurb on the back says the intended audience is young, I felt the explanations would help other age groups. I liked the kindness, friendship, and touches of humor in the conversations between the dogs. Anyone reading this book might learn how to be kind to a friend or acquaintance facing cancer or undergoing cancer treatment! I noted that Dr. Brill’s mother fought cancer, and I thought the poignant dedication increased the integrity of the story. I like the professional design and editing, and I could easily see Do Bad Dogs Get Cancer? on shelves in both bookstores and pet stores. I applaud the concept and professionalism evident in every aspect of this lovely book. Both Dr. Brill and Curt Walstead are to be commended.

Reviewed by Marta Tandori for Readers’ Favorite

Turbo and Boxster are the very best of friends and they play regularly together. When Boxster goes over to Turbo’s house to invite his buddy out to play, he’s taken aback when Turbo declines, having no energy. Boxster urges him to go to the doctor and Turbo reluctantly agrees. After running some tests and examining Turbo, the doctor tells him that he has some moles on his legs and stomach that are cancerous and that he’ll require surgery to remove them. Understandably, Turbo is upset over the news and asks Boxster if he got cancer because he was a bad dog. Boxster tells him that bad dogs get time-outs, not cancer. Boxster appears to be a very well-informed dog when it comes to cancer, thanks to discussions with his next-door neighbor dog, Carrera, who had also battled cancer. Boxster informs Turbo that cancer is not contagious and they talk about different treatments – chemo and radiation – as well as remission. Boxster reassures Turbo that he’ll be there to support Turbo throughout his battle.

Do Bad Dogs Get Cancer? by Patricia A. Brill, with illustrations by Curt Walstead, is a charming picture book for children where the two protagonists are dogs. Using well-crafted and colorful illustrations, the book deals with a very difficult subject matter: cancer. Brill has chosen her words carefully; they get the message across, yet in such a way that a young child will understand without feeling threatened. Most children relate to animals, especially dogs, and choosing dogs to be her protagonists was perfect. Pets are considered to be a part of the family and children should be able to relate to illness in pets.

Walstead’s illustrations are large, colorful, contain just the right amount of detail to keep young children engaged, and serve to complement the author’s text perfectly. What is especially poignant about the story is when Turbo asks whether he got cancer because he was a bad dog and Boxster replies that bad dogs get time outs, not cancer. That is about as perfect a response as one could make. Serious subject matter well-handled with simplistic yet colorful illustrations make Do Bad Dogs Get Cancer? the perfect go-to book for teaching a very important life lesson.

Don’t Say Goodbye Just Say See You!

Reviewed by Deborah Stone for Readers’ Favorite

Book award
Winner of the 2016 Reader’s Favorite Bronze Award in the Children – Animal Category. 2015 Mom’s Choice Awards Honoring Excellence. Silver Award Recipient for “Do Bad Dogs Get Cancer?” Juvenile Books (Level 1 – Ages 5 to 8): Self-Improvement.

Don’t Say Goodbye, Just Say See You by Patricia Ann Brill is a useful book with charming artwork that will enable parents to help a child better understand the loss of a loved one or a beloved pet. Patricia Ann Brill tells the story of two best friends, who happen to be dogs, and how one copes when his friend dies. Don’t Say Goodbye, Just Say See You will help children to grasp the concept that death is not final, it is only a temporary separation. Patricia Ann Brill also shows us that sometimes death frees the one we love from suffering. This sweet story of friendship, loss, and grief is designed for children, but parents/adults will be touched by it as well as they read with their child.

Patricia Ann Brill’s Don’t Say Goodbye, Just Say See You is well written and the illustrations are sweet and well done. The story of losing someone, family or pet, and how to deal with that, before and after, is shown in this touching story. Patricia Ann Brill has captured the sentiments of loss and grief in a way that is tender and not overwhelming for a child. Instead, it allows the child to understand that death is nothing to fear and grief is normal. We might be afraid or we might even be angry, and all of those normal emotions are okay. Patricia Ann Brill demonstrates that love lives on, even when we lose someone that we love, and reassures us with the knowledge that we will see our loved ones again.

The Road to Recovery is Paved with Dog Treats

Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers’ Favorite

Mom's Choice Book Award

Winner of the 2016 Mom’s Choice Awards Honoring Excellence. Silver Award Recipient for Juvenile Books (Level 1 – Ages 5 to 8): Self-Improvement.

The Road to Recovery is Paved with Dog Treats is a children’s animal picture book written by Patricia A. Brill, Ph.D. and illustrated by Curt Walstead. Turbo is a boxer who has a lot of experience going to the vet. He’s had three surgeries, and he’s the perfect companion for any animal who’s waiting for surgery and is frightened of being there. Murphy is one of those animals. He ate some clothing and other things while his human companion wasn’t home. They made him feel terrible, and his human rushed him to the vet. When Turbo tells Murphy about his surgeries, Murphy has a lot of questions to ask. He wonders what will happen when it’s time for the surgery and if someone will be there when he wakes up. He also wants to know if he’ll hurt when he wakes up and, most important of all, when he can go home again. Turbo answers all of Murphy’s questions, and, before you know it, Murphy is being wheeled back from surgery.

Patricia A. Brill’s animal book for children, The Road to Recovery is Paved with Dog Treats, is a marvelous read that explains what happens when a family pet needs to have surgery. Children can be as frightened as Murphy was about the whole process, and this book explains every step in a way that’s reassuring and easily understood by both children and their parents. I’ve had friends with dogs who ate all sorts of strange things when they were puppies, and the dog owners would tell us all about the medical emergency when they were finally back at the dog park again. Brill’s picture book is also an excellent introduction to veterinary medicine for children, who may want to consider a career as a vet, vet tech, or nurse when they grow up. Curt Walstead’s brightly colored illustrations are charming and help maintain the positive nature of this book. I especially enjoyed the artist’s skill in rendering the expressions on the dogs’ faces. The Road to Recovery is Paved with Dog Treats is highly recommended.

Porsche Bella’s Forever Home

Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers’ Favorite

Mom's Choice Book Award

Winner of the 2016 Mom’s Choice Awards Honoring Excellence. Silver Award Recipient for Juvenile Books (Level 1 – Ages 5 to 8): Self-Improvement.

Porsche Bella’s Forever Home is a children’s animal picture book written by Patricia A. Brill, Ph.D., and illustrated by Curt Walstead. Porsche and her brother and sister were abandoned in a field by a breeder who didn’t want them. It was a terrifying experience, and they got more and more hungry until a boy finally found them and took them home with him. He and his mom were the pups’ foster family until they could find forever homes. The three boxers were white, and some people fear that their color will mean they could be blind or deaf. When Captain Zach and Dr. Pat came to visit the puppies, they could only take one as they already had four other dogs. They chose the little pup, who was frightened and wanted to stay with her litter mates, but she soon felt better when she found dog toys, food and a special bed waiting for her in the people’s van. When the three of them arrived at her new home, there were four other dogs waiting to meet her and become her new family.

Patricia A. Brill’s animal book for children, Porsche Bella’s Forever Home, introduces the fostering and adoption process that takes place when a family adopts an abandoned dog. Brill lists a few of the reasons why dogs are abandoned, and her story shows how well those dogs can adapt to a new forever home when they’re given the chance. My Labrador Retriever was dumped outside a shelter at night when he was a puppy, and I can still remember his frightened face when we came to see him. Brill also addresses the urgent need for people to get involved in rescuing dogs and other pet animals who all deserve forever homes. Walstead’s illustrations are perfectly matched with the story, and are brightly colored and cheerful. Porsche Bella’s Forever Home is an ideal book to introduce a child to the process of adoption and make him/her aware of the fear and uncertainty a rescue pet may be feeling at first. It’s highly recommended.