Little Skiff, a two year old Sheltie, has a great life with his family in Arizona. He runs and plays with the kids and loves his adventures off his leash. Skiff's favourite time of the year is monsoon season when the strong winds kick up all sorts of tantalizing smells as Skiff is busy digging in the ground – that is until Skiff develops a weird cough and hurts his knee. What will the vet find? Will Skiff be okay?
Little Skiff Copes with Valley Fever by Dany Pierard-Deviche is a wonderful little chapter book that helps children deal with sickness. Skiff’s narrative voice in the face of illness, and the unique balance of fiction and non-fiction makes this book a wonderfully educational read.
The illustrations are simple and sweet and only add to the unique flavour of the story. The end of the book shows actual photos of Skiff’s x-rays as well as a glossary of words.
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Valley Fever is a fungal infection. The fungus that causes it lives in the ground in the Southwest. When a dog digs, spores from the fungus can escape from the ground and become airborne. The spores can also be carried by the wind during dust storms. Most people and animals have a natural immunity against the disease, but if some people or animals inhale the spores they can get contaminated. Fortunately, it is not contagious from dog to dog or from dog to person. Author and illustrator Dany Pierard-Deviche, who is a former research biologist and also holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in painting, tells a delightful story in which Little Skiff must learn to cope with his own illness, thus giving strength and courage to children who are dealing with health issues, especially any who might have Valley Fever. Little Skiff Copes with Valley Fever is a wonderful book that will teach children how to remain confident in the face of adversity.
Wayne S. Walker
May. 7, 2010
Author Dany Pierard-Deviche, who is originally from Belgium, owns a real Sheltie and after living at Fairbanks in Alaska for eleven years moved to Phoenix in Arizona, just like Little Skiff. Her text, told in the first person as if narrated by Little Skiff, and colorful pastel pictures tell a charming story that will appeal to children of all ages. It would be especially useful in situations where youngsters are having to move from a familiar home to a new location. With the additional benefit of containing information on living conditions and wildlife in both Alaska and Arizona, Little Skiff’s Moving Adventures is the perfect blend of fiction that teaches and nonfiction that entertains. Even though he is just a dog, Little Skiff can serve as a great role model for kids in how to cope with life’s trials and tribulations.
Wayne S. Walker
May. 7, 2010
If you’re looking for smart books for kids with pets, especially dogs, then you’ll like the Little Skiff series from author Dany Pierard-Deviche, a former research biologist...
...I enjoyed getting to know Little Skiff! He’s certainly the type of loving dog that many kids would be able to identify with. Little Skiff is a fun, respectful main character you enjoy following around. Plus, the illustrations are engaging and very plentiful.
The author explains complicated topics in a way that kids can understand. For example, Pierard-Deviche illustrates causes, symptoms and treatments of disease in Little Skiff Copes with Valley Fever by showing kids noticing their dog’s illness and taking him to the vet and caring for him during his treatment.
Little Skiff’s Moving Adventures was my favorite of the two books though. I liked how Skiff adapted to his new area and found the courage to make new friends. The snowdog gift idea was also very cute!
The softbound Little Skiff books appear strong and rugged enough, but I still would have liked them better as hardbacks. That’s just my preference though. I don’t think kids care.
I had originally planned on getting the thoughts of my nephews (ages 4 and 6) on these books. However, like the characters in Little Skiff’s Moving Adventures – they’re currently moving! The books got packed away before they had a chance to read them. However, it’s reported to me that the youngest “loved looking at the dog” when flipping through.
April 15th, 2010
Light Green Stairs
Former research biologist Dany Pierard-Deviche brings to life the story of Skiff. This Shetland Sheepdog stars in the first two children’s books in the Little Skiff series for ages 4-8. The author, originally from Belgium, writes with plenty of real-life experience to back up these stories: she is the owner of the real-life Skiff. Told from the point of view of the adventurous canine, these two children’s books provide a role model in the little Sheltie that young children can relate to and learn from at the same time.
Little Skiff’s Moving Adventures shares Skiff’s fear of moving, a story that Pierard-Deviche hopes can help young readers in their own family moves. The author and Skiff moved from Fairbanks, Alaska to today’s home in Phoenix, Arizona.
That new desert home provides the setting for Little Skiff Copes with Valley Fever, a look at the courage of Skiff as he faces this illness. The tale follows the Sheltie as he becomes ill from the fungal infection, visits the veterinarian, takes his medication, and regains his strength. A glossary explains words like spore and fungus while x-rays of Skiff’s leg and lungs
illustrate what can be a mysterious veterinary process.
Both books are illustrated by the author, sharing Skiff’s story in colorful drawings
Paris and John
Paris Permenter & John Bigley
Publishers, LT Media Group LLC
The boys and I had the opportunity to review the Little Skiff Books, written by Dany Pierard-Deviche, published by Five Star Publications. Written in part from the author's life experiences, as well as from her dog, Skiff's, real-life experiences, these books are a great addition to any children's bookshelf.
Skiff is a Shelty dog, and the stories are written from his perspective; in other words, he narrates all of the story, with human conversation thrown in here and there. The books are fictional, but they have nonfictional tendencies, as the author aims to teach the reader something new, spark interest in something the reader might not have thought of otherwise. Even as an adult, I found myself learning facts I didn't know as I read the books. Not only do the books teach about Skiff, who is a Sheltie, but they make geographical references, and the subject matter has nonfictional lessons for the reader to take away. At first, I wasn't so sure about the illustrations; they seemed childish, maybe not as professional, but the more I read, the more the illustrations came to life. Honestly, the illustrations are very cute and really stand out with the stories.
The first book in the series is Little Skiff's Moving Adventures. This book starts out with a very cold setting in Alaska, teaching the reader some of the goings on of a Sheltie dog in the winter wonderland of Alaska. Skiff soon comes to realize, though, that he is going to have to leave his friends, Kerry and Denali, behind. He soon grows accustomed to the idea of leaving, though, and a new adventure begins for Skiff and his family in the hot, dry land of Arizona. When Skiff arrives in Arizona, there are many new things for him to explore, and children learn about different geographical aspects. It's a cute story, written from a dog's perspective, in a child's language. I will say that my older son, Jacob, was more interested than my younger, Jaden, even though the illustrations of the "Ruff, ruff" (translation: dog) fascinated Jaden.
The second book in the series, Little Skiff Copes with Valley Fever, was set again in Arizona. I found myself laughing through the beginning of this story, as Skiff's adventurous, boisterous spirit reminded me of the dog we used to have. It was just fun to read…there's no other way of putting it, especially as a dog lover. Again, the reader will learn about Arizona more, in that Skiff experiences his first dust storm. Soon after, Skiff comes down with Valley Fever and becomes very sick. This was something I had never heard of before. Apparently, it's a fungus that's spores can be scrounged up in dust storms, or even from people or animals digging in the dirt in that part of the country. The author even provides the real Skiff's x-rays in the back of the book, so that the reader can explore a little more. Overall, this was my favorite story out of the two.
You can purchase the Little Skiff Books for $15.95 apiece on Little Skiff Books. Right now, Five Star is offering a 24% discount, as well. I definitely recommend these stories, especially for homeschooling families, as they'd make a great addition to any science/geography lesson or even just as good reading material.
Melissa J's Thoughts:
Little Skiff's Moving Adventures
I ever expected to learn a new vocabulary word form a children's book, but I did. Archipelago.
Archipelago: A cluster of islands
While Little Skiff's Moving Adventures is not a book that grabs me either visually or reading wise, I consider it a good investment because:
- I think kids will be very attracted to a book that is written from a dog's perspective
- It is education while in story form. Little Skiff is a likeable Sheltie, that is going to cause most kids to fall in love-and I would venture to guess-want a dog. In Little Skiff's Moving Adventures he tells of moving from Alaska to Arizona with a dog's perspective that children will giggle over and enter into with their bright imaginations.
Little Skiff Copes with Valley Fever
In Little Skiff Copes with Valley Fever, I once again learned something. I had absolutely no idea that something like Valley Fever even existed, much less could affect humans and animals. I not only found this second book more enjoyable to read, I found it to be a science/medical lesson that could be implemented into any homeschool curriculum, again, via story form. As a teach at home mom, I thoroughly appreciate educational children stories and am glad to have added this book to my library for my daughter.
Although the Little Skiff books are not as visually attractive as other books I have seen, and my daughter is a bit too young for them, I would tell parents that overall, they are worth the investment because of the lessons they teach in an imaginative and fun way.
(Disclosure: We were provided copies of these books, free of charge, by Five Star Publications, for the purposes of this review.)
Melissa J. & Mel
5.0 out of 5 stars
This is a cute little book about a puppy who is a Shetland sheepdog. Shelties were trained generations ago to help humans round up their flocks of sheep. Skiff's grandparents used to work as herding dogs in the Shetland Islands, a cool, rainy and windy archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean. When they retired, they moved to Alaska, and the Shelties of Skiff's canine family have enjoyed cold snowy winters ever since.
Skiff's owners nicknamed him Little Sheltie or Skiff. Skiff loves everything about living in Alaska. He loves the cold weather, snow and being with his friends. Then one day he is told they are moving to Arizona. Skiff is very sad as he does not want to leave his friends and begins to cry. His owners talk to him about the move and that helped him a lot. Skiff will soon learn to love his new home.
This book was a delight and I loved it that the story was told by Skiff. I also loved the illustrations. When you read this book you will see different facial expressions on Skiff's face. So look closely and you will see for yourself.
This is a great book for families who are planning to move. It will help younger children to accept and even look forward to the move when they read this book. The illustrations and story line are great and will hold the attention of smaller children. I think they will find they like Skiff as much as I do.
March 6, 2010