Book Review: The Rescue Team by Billi Tiner

When I  first met Author Billi Tiner  on Twitter and saw the cover of  The Rescue Team, the first thing that intrigued me about this wonderful book for youngsters in the “middle grades” or grades 9-12, was the cover! The cover features the two “stars” of this heartwarming and excitement filled book, Ellie, a Border Collie with an endearing “smile”  and a penchant for “spinning”, ( Shelties can certainly relate!), who was unceremoniously “dumped” off at a shelter when his owners discovered they were going to have a baby, and Toby, a silver-gray tabby cat, who was also treated less than admirably by his owners.  For those who read both of my blogs, do these two remind you of anybody?


to purchase in paperback or Kindle form, click on the book cover!

to purchase in paperback or Kindle form, click on the book cover!

That’s right! The two featured on the cover remind me of my Dakota and Cody!

Flat Cody and Flat Dakota that Mom had bought for trip

Cody and Dakota!

When I read the first few pages I was hooked!  There were many things that I loved about this book, but one of the main themes that I loved was the “pay it forward” message that Ellie and Toby display throughout the entire story. Having been rescued, they live their lives rescuing OTHERS, both people and other animals. Ellie, being a “working” dog, finds her “job”,  her  “purpose”  rescuing others with Toby the cat, working devotedly by his side.

There are delightful “messages” or “lessons” that are learned when young people AND adults read The Rescue Team. The “pay it forward” message is clear but there are more messages such as, the power of love, devotion, determination, trust, courage, hope, to name a few.

Another aspect of The Rescue Team that I found to be delightful, was how Author Billi Tiner has the animals that are in this book “speak” to each other.  There are examples of how they speak with their “eyes” throughout the book, sensing whether a person or an animal can be trusted, just by looking into their eyes.  The animals in The Rescue Team “speak” to each other when no humans are around, they also have an uncanny ability to “speak” to the humans, Anne Richards, who adopts Ellie and Toby, and Brent Davis, the EMT who rescues Anne,  (in more ways than one!)

Animals have an inherent form  of communicating  that humans who LISTEN  understand, be it a “smile”, a “spin”, a tail wag, a cat showing love through brushing up against a human, Tiner shows throughout this book that SHE is an animal lover by her obvious understanding of these “gestures.”

 The Rescue Team also teaches us  how, often our first impressions can be wrong, as exhibited when Toby the cat is startled by Tank, the “huge” dog with the “freaky” eyes (one blue, one brown) that sent Toby running up the first tree that he could find!

The Rescue Team is a quick read,  fast-moving, exciting, packed with warmhearted “feel good” moments and lessons that can be learned by both young people and adults alike.

Be sure to put this one on your MUST READ list!


ISBN 9781478318156

To purchase in paperback form click here

To purchase in Kindle form click here


Winner Of “Menagerie” By Sharon Montrose, Illustrations And Lettering By Julianna Swaney

I love how things in life work. Sometimes coincidences are just delightful!

Today is the perfect example of that.

Author/Illustrator Wendy Wahman

Last summer I had the pleasure of reviewing two delightful  children’s books by  author/illustrator, Wendy Wahman.

The first book of Wendy’s that I had reviewed was “Don’t Lick The Dog” , you can read the review here

The second book of Wendy’s that I had reviewed was actually reviewed on my other blog, Cat Chat.  The title of the book is “A Cat Like That” and you can read that review here

You can also visit Wendy’s website here

As you have probably already figured out…

WENDY WAHMAN  is the winner of “Menagerie” (as chosen by


Please email me your complete mailing address to cgittleman @ mi dot rr dot com

Book Review & Give-Away “Menagerie”, Sharon Montrose, Illustration and Lettering by Julianna Swaney

From the publisher: “Montrose’s artful presentation gives each animal a pronounced identity…she groups her photographs in unique, playful chapters under the titles Forest, Babies, Primates, Reptiles, Birds, Farm, Cats, and Hoofstock. The animals photographed for MENAGERIE are real live animals, raised (and most rescued) by loving and dedicated animal keepers and handlers who care for them as their own and ensured their welfare while being photographed. Montrose further enhances the indelible personalities of her subjects by incorporating beautiful hand-lettered text by illustrator Julianna Swaney. Animal lovers and design enthusiasts alike will go wild for Sharon’s best photography book yet.”

My feelings? The photographs are charming, this is a coffee table book pure and simple. Being candid, it left me wanting more. There are a few pages with captions such as a charming photo of a giraffe with the caption “put your head in the clouds”.  The captions are few and far between. I would have preferred seeing captions connected with each photo.

Those that prefer visuals over words may disagree.

When I read the description of this book on the publishers’ website I was stunned to see that it is geared at those ages 18 and over. I felt it would function better as a learning book for elementary age children.

The photographs are quite nice and would be a great conversation starter with a child. A parent could turn the pages and ask questions that pertain to each animal.

Am I off-base? Purchase this book and decide for yourself or if you have viewed it already feel free to leave a comment and correct me if I am wrong.

ABOUT SHARON MONTROSE: “her definitive photographic style and extensive experience in the animal industry have made her one of the most sought-after photographers specializing in animals. Her work is featured in ten published photography books: Dogtionary and Cationary, as well as the Lightweights and Lightweights Littermates series, Carry-Ons, and Mutts. Sharon also shoots commercially for some of the world’s foremost pet industry brands. Her Animal Series images are part of numerous private collections. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and their two dogs. Visit her at

ABOUT JULIANNA SWANEY: “born in Michigan and grew up playing outside with her dogs and cats, going on family vacations to historical sites, and going to antique stores, all of which continue to be an influence on her work. She attended Maine College of Art and got her BFA in 2005. She now makes a living from her artwork in Portland, Oregon. Visit her at


ISBN: 978-0-06-204920-9

GIVE-AWAY: if you would like to win a copy of this book, please leave a comment below. The contest deadline is Monday, December 12 at 11pm EST. The winner will be chosen by and will be announced Wednesday, December 14th. Contest is open to everyone ages 18 and older.)

Good Luck!



BOOK REVIEW:BARK PARK Written & Illustrated By Karen Gray Ruelle

After days and days of neglect, Mom finally sat down with me to read one of many books that were mailed to our house for Mom and I to review.

The most recent of the list is Bark Park!

Bark Park is the perfect bedtime story book for little pups (primarily human pups) ages 2 to 6.

There are brightly colored, lively illustrations that show all sorts of doggies romping and playing in the park.  Some of the illustrations show a Dalmatian, Scottie, Dachshund, Poodle, just to name a few.

There are mutts, old dogs, digging dogs, barking dogs, finding bone and ball dogs, all sorts of dogs!

There was one breed of dog  of the many that were featured that I didn’t see in Bark Park (maybe Mom and I missed it?) SHELTIES!

Where are the Shelties?

There is an illustration of what appears to be a Collie with (ready for this?) a CAT in its mouth!!

My brother Cody refused to pose with this illustration, BOL!


Needless to say, my brother Cody was NOT amused by THAT in the least!

Bark Park is fun!

As it says in the inside sleeve:

“Energetic rhymes are punctuated with cheerful illustrations in this bouncy, fast-paced frolic. It’s doggone delightful!”

Here is an example:

“Thin dog, grin dog, gulping, lapping.  Hairless, careless, digging, yapping. Pack dog, track dog, on the prowl. Curly, surly, woof and growl.”

If you are looking for a fun, fast reading, adorably written/illustrated children’s book about dogs, head on over to Bark Park!



  • Hardcover: $15.95
  • ISBN: 978-1-56145-434-1
  • Total Pages: 32
  • Size: 10 3/8 x 8 1/2
  • Language: English



Karen Gray Ruelle has written and illustrated a number of books, including Bark ParkHidden on the Mountain: Stories of Children Sheltered From the Nazis in Le Chambon (which she co-authored with Deborah Durland DeSaix), The Tree, and theHarry and Emily series. She has also worked as an editor, a reviewer, and a librarian. She lives in New York.”