Monday, August 28, 2017

The Oregon Kids: Runaway Whiskers

Richley, B. (2017). The Oregon Kids, Volume 2: Runaway Whiskers. Self-published.

Children's Book / Illustrated / Life Lessons / K-3

4 out of 5 Stars
Blurb: In Runaway Whiskers, the values of honesty and responsibility are exemplified. Autumn finds a pet rabbit and is reluctant to return it. Will she be honest and return in? Johanna is the owner of the rabbit, Whiskers. It was her responsibility to care for the rabbit and close the cage door. When Whiskers runs away because the cage was left open, she is heartbroken.

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HALL WAYS REVIEW: With The Oregon Kids: Runaway Whiskers, Bob Richley has given kids, parents, and caregivers another great story that delivers excellent lessons including the Golden Rule of treating others as you'd like to be treated. Just as in The Big Catch, volume one of the Oregon Kids series, in this second volume, siblings Billy and Autumn return to show readers sympathy and empathy illustrated through theirs and the new characters' behaviors. Even better, readers are shown responsible solutions to the problems at hand. 

In addition to the great writing and editing, one of the things I love about Runaway Whiskers is that the glass is shown half full -- it's optimistic! Yes, there are some sad parts, but it's overwhelmingly positive and shows unexpected perks of acting responsibly. It does cross into a parenting nightmare zone by implying that by doing the right thing, Autumn is rewarded with her dream coming true and her getting a pet rabbit -- YIKES. This underscores the importance of why parents and caregivers should read books together, so these kinds of situations can be talked about and addressed on the spot, and kids can be reminded that sometimes doing the right thing is a reward unto itself.

Illustrator Hilbert Bermejo is back and provides crisp and clean lined illustrations to carry the book along. The strongest point of the illustrations is the expressions he puts on the characters' faces - readers will get all the feels. The cover really draws-in readers and the pages will keep them engaged. And I LOVE the new larger, 8"x 10" format that will be easy to locate when kids want to re-read the story. (And they WILL want to re-read the story!)
New larger 8x10 format on the left!
I shared both books with a younger reader, and he observed that it appeared that Billy's eyes had changed from the first volume to the second. (My young friend is half-Korean, and he thought that in The Big Catch, Billy looked like he may have been Asian, too.) I don't know if this was an intended change in the art or not, but kids like to be able to see themselves in the stories they read, and my friend felt disappointed by the change in book two. Adding in (or keeping) diverse characters would be a great way to have these stories make a connection with more readers. 

The Oregon Kids books are great, bite-sized stories that are both educational and enjoyable for all. I look forward to more books and life lessons coming in the series. Thank you to the author for providing me a print copy in exchange for my honest opinion -- the only kind I give.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: BOB RICHLEY grew up in the Chicago area and now lives in beautiful Colorado. Growing up Richley would often go camping in the Rocky Mountains. It was these childhood camping trips and especially his visit to Crater Lake in Oregon that was the inspiration for events in the Oregon Kids series. Richley is a parent, who has volunteered for years in children’s ministry. Teaching children good values and the grace of God are his passions. His stories, originally written for a single mom to help her raise her children, are a way to fulfill this passion. Richley has always loved children, wanting all children to be raised with love and grace. It is his hope that his stories will be one of many tools that parents will use to teach and to raise their children with Godly values.
Connect with Bob on his  AUTHOR PAGE, where you'll find Oregon Kids coloring pages and all of Bob's social media links!  


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