A Going Home Surprise


Children - Animals
40 Pages
Reviewed on 07/24/2019
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Ann Marie has been a writer of children's' books for more than 30 years. She contributed to authoring "Puffy and the Formidable Foe" with her mother, and after that Ann Marie moved to indie authorship of "All About A Boy Who Was Afraid of the Dark", next, "A Going Home Surprise" and soon to be published, "The First Day of School" and "Puffy Meets a Friend". Her full-length novella for teens is in the works and will be published as "Paladoro and the Gift of Kindness". Ann Marie loves hearing from her fans and can be reached at annmariehannon@betterthanbouncing.com

    Book Review

Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite

Kathy is frequently rescuing stray animals. But when she finds a little kitten, lost and alone, full of fleas and no purrs, she knows that she has to get it to the vet quickly. She begs her mom to drive quickly but carefully just to make sure this small bit of fluff stayed alive. Mom senses that this kitten is more than just another one of Kathy’s rescues, with the bond between Kathy and the kitten they soon called Mitten evident almost immediately. But the test remains: will Kathy live up to her responsibilities of caring properly and regularly for Mitten? Pets need more than love and any child wanting to own a pet needs to fully appreciate the responsibility that goes along with owning one.

Ann Marie Hannon’s picture book story, A Going Home Surprise, is a delightful way to teach young readers the importance of caring for a pet responsibly. The main character, Kathy, is described as a pre-teen, but I think the nature of this story and the beautiful illustrations that accompany it suggest a girl of six or seven. Otherwise, this story flows nicely with clear, simple language and almost rhyming verse. The author’s compassion for animals is evident and the message is clear: it takes more to care for a pet than to just want one. Love is a multi-dimensional responsibility and sometimes a lot of work. Kathy has compassion for animals, but in this story she appears to be appreciative of all that it takes to care for her new pet, Mitten. A beautiful story.

Edith Wairimu

A Going Home Surprise by Ann Marie Hannon is a delightful story that features Kathy, a caring girl who loves animals. Kathy loves taking in stray animals and looking after them. One day she stumbles upon a little stray kitten. The kitten, unlike other animals she has met before, appears very frightened. She is also dirty and full of fleas. The kitten withdraws into herself and is not active like the other animals Kathy has taken care of. Fearing for the kitten’s life, Kathy urges her mother to rush them to the veterinary clinic. Will the veterinarian be able to save the kitten and will she finally find a home?

A Going Home Surprise contains beautiful illustrations that enhance this wonderful story. It also teaches children empathy towards animals. As Kathy begins to take care of the kitten, her routine shows the activities required to take care of a pet, very useful for child readers who want a pet of their own. Kathy’s loving nature will help young readers understand the need to be caring towards their pet as well as provide for them. Kathy’s mother is also able to gauge if Kathy will be able to take care of the pet before deciding whether the kitten should stay with them. This part will help parents explain to their children the responsibility of owning a pet. A Going Home Surprise by Ann Marie Hannon also uses rhyming words which could potentially enhance a young reader’s comprehension skills. Definitely a must-read for young animal lovers.

Lisa McCombs

Pre-teen Kathy makes a life purpose of rescuing homeless or lost animals and restoring them to their home or finding a suitable family for adoption. Usually the animal is close to her home, but one day she discovers a tiny, scared kitten in need of medical help. Riddled with fleas, listless and sad, the kitten worried Kathy with its forlorn behavior. Kathy feared that the kitten would not survive a trip to the vet. The kitten was so small and so sad. Doc Flavia saved the day, though, and Kathy returned home to nurture Mitten as her very own forever friend, while sharing the joys of pet adoption.

A Going Home Surprise by Ann Marie Hannon is a sweet story of a little girl with a heart of gold. Kathy is a good example of the kindness we sometimes look for in our children. Ann Marie Hannon provides the reader with a rhyming book that encourages readers to respect our furry friends. I particularly liked the pre-story explanation of the book’s purpose. Owning a pet is a huge responsibility that is often overlooked amidst the initial excitement of adding a new family member. Oft times we are blinded by the novelty of owning a pet rather than the reality of what that means. A Going Home Surprise presents good material for a moral lesson or an introduction to the importance of pet adoption. Whether used as classroom reading material, independent reading, or in conjunction with animal shelters, I find this an exceptional addition to any child’s reading list.

Jack Magnus

A Going Home Surprise is an animal picture book for children written by Ann Marie Hannon. Kathy always seemed to find the stray dogs and cats and those sadly lost animals who needed just a bit of help to find their way back home. Her mom loved seeing how her daughter cared so much about them, and she was always right there to help her daughter’s rescue efforts. The little red kitten Kathy found on their road trip one day was a different matter. It was so small and seemed so unhappy and frightened. Kathy wondered if there was anything physically wrong with it. That the kitten had a problem with fleas was obvious, but there seemed more to the kitten’s distress than that. Kathy pleaded with her mom to take it to the vet to see if there was anything she could do to make things right again. Her mom could see how concerned Kathy was for the kitten she had begun to care so deeply about.

A Going Home Surprise offers parents and caregivers a chance to address the issue of becoming an animal companion with their kids and young charges. I appreciated how Hannon directly approaches the issue of pet health and well-being. Seeing how Kathy puts the kitten’s health above all else is a grand message for young kids. This book highlights the fact that companion animals are not toys to be cast off, but living beings with feelings, needs and sometimes health issues. As the author indicates in her introduction, this book can be used as a springboard for discussion to determine if a child is ready for the responsibility of being an animal companion, which can be an awesome and infinitely rewarding experience for a child with the guidance and support of their parents. Hannon’s illustrations are marvelous, especially those pictures featuring Mittens before and after her visit to the vet. While a perfect selection for story time, this book is also a suitable primer for young readers to try on their own. A Going Home Surprise is most highly recommended.

Cheryl E. Rodriguez

A Going Home Surprise by Ann Marie Hannon is a story about a young girl and a lost kitten. Kathy has a knack for finding lost animals. One day while traveling with her mom, Kathy discovers a scared and pitiful looking kitten. Kathy and her mother decide to rescue the fragile little kitten and take it to Dr. Flavia, their local veterinarian. With special care, the kitten begins to heal and Kathy’s love begins to grow. Soon Kathy desires to have this kitten for her very own. Kathy knows she must ask her mother for permission to keep the precious kitten. But is Kathy really ready to own a pet?

Ann Marie Hannon shows the special bond between a pet and their owner in A Going Home Surprise. Hannon uses a subtle rhyming scheme, making it easy to read. The bright and colorful illustrations nicely complement the story line and help to reveal the setting and the emotions of the characters. The narrative is told from the mother’s point of view, cultivating a tone of nurturing and parental influence. This technique coincides well with the author’s intention for parents to use the story as a means of discussing pet ownership with their child. The young heroine shows tenderness and compassion toward animals, making her a good example to follow. Woven into the narrative's lost and found plot are lessons of responsibility, animal care, and decision making. In the end, A Going Home Surprise reveals the major benefit of having a pet; you receive an irreplaceable best friend.