(BOOK REVIEW/PET ADOPTION) Author Denise Fleck’s children’s book Don’t Judge a Book by its Cover, follows the main character Mary-Alice and her search for her very own “pawmazing” companion.
Fleck uses her main character to teach readers that there is always more than what meets the eye. Everyone has something special about them that makes them unique, and this book aims to show its readers that judging a book by its cover can be very misleading. For a book meant for children ages eight through nine, it teaches a very important life lesson.
“Mary-Alice and her friends like pretty clothes and hanging with the in-crowd, but when she requests a puppy for her birthday, her parents decide the fluffy one with the pink bow in the pet store window may not be the best choice. Instead, Mary-Alice ends up at the local Animal Shelter where she not only saves the life of a loving older dog but learns that once you look beyond the plain cover of things, you can be treated to the true joys that lie underneath.
Looking beyond the cover is truly canine in that dogs do not judge other based on their income, beauty, or status. They live in the moment, rejoicing in every kindness they are shown. Humans, young and not-so-young, can learn pawmazing lessons from our four-legged friends when they Don’t Judge a Book by its Cover,” Fleck says.
Don’t Judge a Book by its Cover takes adoption stereotypes head on. Fleck wrote the book with the intention of breaking the stereotypes against black dogs, also known as black dog syndrome, and senior dogs; because people have preconceived notions of these animals, they are the least adopted pets.
Black dog syndrome happens because of superstition and stereotypes. People believe the old wives tale that states that black cats are bad luck and because of this it spills over into their canine counterparts.
“Even to this day, ‘black dog’ is a metaphor in the mental health industry to describe depression” Fleck continues.
People also believe that black animals are more aggressive due to the way the media portrays good vs. evil: light vs. dark.
While older dogs are often passed by something younger, this book highlights the positive aspects of having a senior dog rather than a puppy: they already house broken, have better focus, are grateful for a second chance, and what you see is what you get.
Denise got the idea for this children’s book through her very own black lab Mr. Rico, which is the exact name of the dog that Mary Alice adopts in the book.
“Don’t Judge a Book by its Cover is the first in what will be a series of illustrated children’s storybooks… Its message is ‘Pets are part of the family,'” Fleck says.
Be sure to buy this book and look out for the rest of the series coming soon.
— Cara Meyers, exclusive to Global Animal