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Levi Journey: Publishers Weekly/Booklife Review

I had some very exciting news yesterday! Julie, the author of "Levi Journey: An Unlikely Therapy Dog" (my first published illustration project) sent me an e-mail to let me know that Publishers Weekly have reviewed our book for their Booklife supplement! This review will be published in their December issue this year. This is a major accomplishment for us both, as in their own words "The PW reviews process is highly competitive for both self-published and traditionally published books, and a relatively small percentage of books submitted are reviewed. If your book is chosen, know that it truly stood out".

Having a professional review (and a very positive one at that!) is a fantastic achievement for a debut children's picture book, and this accolade will help Julie in her efforts to get this book into the US Elementary School system and city libraries.

Here is the review from Publishers Weekly/Booklife:

"Iribarren introduces a lovable character in Levi, a rescue dog turned therapy pet in this picture book debut. When Levi is abandoned in a forest far from the United States, he struggles to stay warm and out of danger–constantly searching for food despite being chased away by angry people. After several years of surviving on his own, Levi is rescued and transported to the U.S., where he undergoes a health checkup and ends up being adopted by dog-loving couple Julie and Raùl. Levi’s a perfect fit for the family, and along the way they discover he is especially fond of kids, propelling him into training to become a therapy dog.

Levi’s training is enjoyable to behold, as he proudly sports his “therapy dog bandana” and masters the art of helping nervous children calm down. His favorite scene is the library, where his superpower manifests in supporting kids who are distressed when reading aloud. Off duty, Levi goes for walks, cuddles with his owners, and contemplates his joy in such a happy home. The story draws to a close when Julie and Raùl reminisce about the odyssey Levi experienced before joining their family. They aptly name him “Levi Journey” because “his life has been a long journey.”

Peers’s illustrations are warm and inviting, blending intricate lines and shapes to produce a muted effect, and Levi’s soulful eyes are rendered skillfully expressive. Added material explains the professional responsibility of a therapy dog—including specific skills they must possess—and a photo collage of the real-life Levi, the actual certified therapy dog who is the story’s inspiration. Occasionally, the prose can be wordy, but Levi’s winsome character and eagerness to please steal the show and make this story an entertaining read for kids and adults alike.

Takeaway: A rescue dog finds a forever home and trains to be a therapy pet in this charming story.

Great for fans of: Maribeth Boelts’s Before You Were Mine, Troy Cummings’s Can I Be Your Dog?

Production grades

Cover: A-

Design and typography: A

Illustrations: A

Editing: B

Marketing copy: B "

Levi Journey, our book, is of course still on sale, and would make a fantastic Christmas gift for animal lovers everywhere. I am selling a limited stock of signed copies from my shop here:

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