by Ernest Dempsey
Writing a children’s book that can show the world from an animal’s eyes while remaining accessible to the young audience’s understanding requires special storytelling skills. A Tale of Three Tails (Trafford Publishing, 2009) by Denise Carey-Costa is one of those books that exhibit this talent. The book tells the story of three dogs that bond and help each another in different situations.
The book begins with the first tale –“Bogie” – a senior dog who sees his owner returning with three little pups in need of a home. Two of them are soon adopted out, but the third one stays with them and is named Bear. In the second tale, we see Bear growing up and having a number of adventures in his house while Bogie gets close to his final departure. In the third tale, Bear becomes sad and leaves home after his owner yells at him. He loses his way and meets Beau, a stray dog who dislikes people and is afraid of them on account of his past experiences. This leads readers into the question whether Bear will return home and part with Beau.
All three tales are rich in valuable lessons about the feelings and behavior of dogs in various stages of life and different situations. Mainly we see the world through Bear’s eyes as he grows from a little, fun-loving pup into a young dog with a better understanding of how things work in this world. His interaction with Bogie illustrates the contrast between a senior dog who needs more rest
The most lovable side to all the three tales, and tails, in this book is the hope that springs from the bond of love and care among all characters. Children will see that like any human family members, dogs are capable of love and can live as the four-pawed members of a family with humans, and this holds for those dogs that have been living as stray and previously afraid of people.
A Tale of Three Tails is a great book with a good story full of adventure and narrated in the perfect words and style by the author, conveying several precious lessons. Illustrations by Nicole Sjostrom and Jonathan Iseminger add to the book’s educational value and visual appeal. It is highly recommended for children – in classroom, home, and reading groups.