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Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
Little Animal Stories is a collection of fables written by Joanna Dobkowska and illustrated by Aga Ratajska. The author was inspired to write this book in response to her son’s frequent requests for animal stories. Little Wolf was terrified of the dark and would stay hidden in his cave while the other wolves went out to play. He wondered what he could do to stop being so afraid, and soon came up with a pretty good plan. Little Fox loved to explore the forest with Squirrel, his best friend, but Little Fox kept forgetting how to get back home again. Squirrel always seemed to know the way, but could Little Fox learn it also? Hedgehog loved playing and wanted to make friends, but the other animals got very nervous when Hedgehog turned himself into a round, prickly ball and began rolling around. He loved doing that, but the other animals knew his spines could hurt them. How could Hedgehog roll -- and have friends as well?
Joanna Dobkowska’s collection of fables, Little Animal Stories, addresses issues experienced by many young children in this series of action and adventure stories featuring animals. Each story has its own main character and issue, and I found them both enchanting and educational. Aga Ratajska’s illustrations work perfectly with each of these fables. Her animal portrayals are lively, cheerful and often humorous, and the nature settings feel real. I especially liked Deer, the last story in the collection which the author and her son co-wrote. Each tale would make a great bedtime story, but I suspect most kids will not want to stop at just one. The author’s selection of basic vocabulary and simple sentence structures also makes this book a suitable primer for young readers. Little Animal Stories is most highly recommended.