By: Sharlene Novak
Illustrated by: Sarah Gledhill
Publisher: Atmosphere Press
Publication Date: December 2021
Reviewed by: Holly Connors
An adorable little dog learns about sharing and the importance of friends in debut author Sharlene Novak’s sweet story, Happy Tails Camper Stories: Lucy Learns to Share.
Lucy is an energetic and smart West Highland White Terrier who leads a very active life. Every day she goes to the Happy Tails Dog Camp where she has lots of friends. But, she tells the reader, when she first went to the dog camp, she was quite nervous. Her humans said it would be fun, but Lucy wasn’t sure. When she arrived at camp, the little white-haired dog saw big dogs, little dogs, all sorts of dogs, all running around and having fun.
It didn’t take long for Lucy to make several friends at camp, and when the humans went to a shed and brought out a bunch of doggie toys, well...let’s just say the fun level went up several notches. Lucy’s attention was drawn to an orange ball but before she could get it, another dog, Baxter, pounced, and grabbed the ball. Instantly he was off to play with the ball that Lucy wanted. Lucy found another toy but it just wasn’t the same – she wanted the orange ball.
On the way home from camp, Lucy came up with a plan to get the orange ball the next day. Her plan worked and she was one happy dog when she was able to grab the orange ball and run off with it to play. But she soon discovered that it wasn’t much fun to play with a ball by yourself. While she hid behind a bush to keep Baxter from finding her ball, she watched other dogs playing fetch. They seemed to be having a lot more fun than Lucy. Should Lucy bring her ball out from behind the bushes and try sharing it with other dogs? What should she do?
While the story of Lucy is primarily about learning to share, it also tackles the nerves that many youngsters have on their first day of camp, or, along the same lines, on the first day of school. Lucy admits that she was nervous when her humans first took her to camp but she assures the reader that it all turned out well and she made lots of friends. Then it’s on to that beautiful orange ball. Like a child fixated on a new toy, Lucy really wants the ball, and wants it even more when another dog takes it away. Sound familiar? But she soon learns that wanting and having aren’t the same thing, especially if you can’t share it with others. The author does a nice job of showing youngsters, without lecturing, about the joys of sharing versus the loneliness of keeping your toys (or other things) to yourself. Readers will come away from reading Happy Tails Camper Stories: Lucy Learns to Share eager to get their own group games going. Lucy learns to share and love it and so will readers of her book. I hope we see Lucy in another adventure soon – she’s much too cute not to have many more escapades.
Quill says: Happy Tails Camper Stories: Lucy Learns to Share is a charming and engaging story that teaches children the importance of sharing and the joy that can come from playing with others.