In A DAY AT THE POOL (Oh, Bella! Tales of a Rescue Dog Book 2), Andrea D. Malone details an excursion to a swimming pool taken by her and her pup. The book is a follow-up to My Forever Home (Oh, Bella! Tales of a Rescue Dog) which recounted the author’s experience of adopting two-year-old Bella, a Labrador and pit bull mix, from the local shelter and her first days at home. Although she didn’t know it at the time, Malone was actually responsible for saving the dog’s life—Bella was on the 24-hour euthanasia list the day she found her forever place—and soon the first-time dog owner was in love. The 16-page children’s book shows an adventure the two shared at a dog surprise party that includes the works—from goodie bags to a float-filled swimming pool. The lucky rescue dog found an attentive owner, who packs treats and toys, when the two friends journey outside and is always considerate about her pet’s needs—a good lesson for young readers. The author manages to convey other pet care tips throughout her text. For instance, “We have to dry you off with your towel and make sure your ears are dry to keep your ears healthy.” Lines like this help introduce young pet owners to the responsibilities of having a dog.
The book’s illustrations by I Cenizal offer bright colors and an ever-present trail of white footprints that lead the reader through the owner and Bella’s day. While some of the pictures seem simplistic and feature broad, basic strokes, they always manage to convey the dog’s happy energy and excitement of going off with its beloved owner. They also have a touch of whimsy—for example, the in-ground pool the dogs frolic in features an assortment of fun rafts either donut-shaped or dotted with bones. The real Bella makes a guest appearance at the end of the story, and resembles her illustrated version. She even sports the same festive hat that appears on the table during the book’s doggie party scene. This makes the story more impactful because the reader knows everything that happened is real and Bella is more than a mere character.
Dog lovers will adore A DAY AT THE POOL, the true tale of Bella, a Labrador/pit bull mix who was adopted by Andrea D. Malone and the author’s account of their visiting a swimming pool make for laughs and endearing moments that will make young readers appreciate the simple joys of owning a pet.
~Sandra Mardenfeld for IndieReader