Furry Oscar Finds a Home
Series: Adventures of Furry Oscar, Book 1
Written by Sue Tomko
Illustrated by Jeff Kriberscheck
The Furry Oscar Rescue Foundation, Inc. 12/21/2015
36 pages Ages 0—10
“When Joey, Jamie and Patty want a dog, they discover what it means to rescue a dog and make him a part of their family. Follow the kids’ adventure as they learn about the responsibility of owning a pet and adopt Furry Oscar!” [back cover]
Furry Oscar Finds a Home, narrated by Joey, recalls his family’s decision to get a dog, where they get a dog, and a little about rescue dogs. Joey speaks directly to readers when telling us about “the BEST DAY EVER,”—the day the family adopts a dog. Before that day happens, Joey tells how they convince mom to get a dog. He tells us why he (play ball with), his brother Jamie (run with), and little sister Patty (play dress up with) want a dog. Still, mom said no, thinking the kids were not ready to care for a dog.
Mom tells the kids what they must do to care for a dog: feed him, take him outside, (even if raining), brush him, walk him, play with him, make sure he has a warm place to sleep, and give him kindness and love. The kids immediately divvy up the jobs, but mom is still unconvinced, worried about time and unfinished homework (or the dog ignored for homework). Joey tells us,
“We really wanted a dog, so we decided to show Mom how grown up we were. We cleaned our rooms, helped with the dishes, and got out homework done without being told, for a WHOLE WEEK!”
On Saturday, Mom takes the kids to an adoption fair, explaining all about rescue dogs along the way. The kids ask questions about the dog they will get, while someone asks if they can “just adopt them ALL.” Once there, the kids look at the various dogs until they meet their forever dog, Oscar.
I was excited when I received Furry Oscar Finds a Home. The story is about rescuing a dog through adoption and told from a child’s point of view. Plus, 100 percent of the book’s profits go back to the animal rescue effort. I’m hooked.
The illustrations enhance the story with three active, happy kids, excited to get a dog. Kriberscheck uses Oscar from the first spread to help illustrate the responsibilities of dog ownership, as spelled out by mom. He reaches for children of various ages by employing humor in his art. It works.
Kriberscheck’s illustrations show children the story Joey tells them. My only concern is the ever-changing background. Varying colored backgrounds are neither good nor bad, but purple makes the text difficult to read and switching to a new—bright—color, page after page, can be hard on sensitive eyes.
The story text needs work. The author gives the age range of Furry Oscar Finds a Home’s intended reader as age 0 to 10. Effectively writing a picture book to reach such a large age range is nearly impossible. Youngest readers rely heavily on illustrations and short text to accommodate short attention spans. What works for a ten-year-old will not work for a toddler.
Punctuation and grammar, particularly dialogue formatting, is a huge problem. On more than one occasion, a single paragraph contains dialogue from each character. Another time, seven dialogue lines, each on its own line, contain no dialogue tags. I think Tomko is trying to show excitement, by having everyone talking “at once,” yet without tags, it’s impossible to know who is saying what.
I like the idea of Furry Oscar Finds a Home. Too many dogs and cats sit in public shelters, foster care homes, and onsite rescue organizations. Or they live on the streets. These dogs need deserve loving homes. Getting the word out about these animals is important, as is funding the organizations and individuals helping in these animals and preparing them for a new home. Furry Oscar Finds a Home aims to do this by entertaining and educating kids, with an informative adoption story.
While in its present state, Furry Oscar Finds a Home needs some work, but then, every book needed rewritten several times before deemed ready for publication. A good editor will be able to get Furry Oscar Finds a Home standing on all four paws in no time. Writing a children’s book and saving lost and abused dogs is a difficult endeavor. I believe those involved with this book are devoted to Oscar’s story and sharing the plight of rescue dogs. I betting Furry Oscar Finds a Home will find new life.
Furry Oscar Finds a Home is Sue Tomko’s debut children’s book.
FURRY OSCAR FINDS A HOME Text and illustrations copyright © 2015 by Sue Tomko. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, The Furry Oscar Rescue Foundation, Naples, FL.
Sue Tomko: https://www.facebook.com/furryoscarrescuefoundation/
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Jeff Kriberscheck: http://www.artisticdreamz.com/
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The Furry Oscar Rescue Foundation: https://www.furryoscarfoundation.org/
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FURRY OSCAR FINDS A HOME. Illustrations © 2015 by Sue Tomko. Used by permission of The Furry Oscar Rescue Foundation.
Copyright © 2016 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved
Full Disclosure: Furry Oscar Finds a Home by Sue Tomko & Jeff Kriberscheck, and received from The Furry Oscar Rescue Foundation, is in exchange NOT for a positive review, but for an HONEST review. The opinions expressed are my own and no one else’s. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”