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Reviewed by Sezgi Irem Yurdalan for Readers' Favorite
Joni Frank's children's book, Sagebrush and the Smoke Jumper: Corky Tails Tales of Tailless Dog Named Sagebrush, combines an entertaining tale with many educational points that would greatly improve a child's understanding and compassion towards environmental issues as well as animals. The story starts as we are greeted by smoke and ash particles falling. As the ranch woman and Sagebrush realize that there is a fire, they rush to take necessary precautions to lead the herd and themselves to safety.
The language is appropriate and simple enough for kids to understand, and each little section is followed up with a lively and colorful illustration. These are sure to draw children’s attention and interest. The book has much to offer kids while still entertaining them. The Young Miss and her dogs have a strong bond as a result of her kind and compassionate actions towards every creature she encounters. Sagebrush with his cuteness and loyalty is sure to encourage children to love dogs more and teach them that dogs are humans’ best friends. What I really liked was how gender roles were portrayed. Essentially there is no gender difference in the treatment of any of the characters, but the character of Juniper Berry as an independent and adventurous girl who does not fit into patriarchal expectations is really important in today’s world. Seeing that we evolve and change socially, children’s books should evolve too.
The forest fire and its narration provide a good lesson for children about environmental issues and educates them about Smokejumpers who are heroes. Overall, Joni Frank narrates her story with skill and an awareness that some children's books unfortunately lack. Families seeking to educate their children on environmental and gender-related issues and to teach them compassion towards all living things should definitely pick up Corky Tails Tales of Tailless Dog Named Sagebrush.