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Jazzy's Books Review by Erika Leaf

Sonja McGiboney

Reading is an important skill. I have always tried to instill a love of books in my children and strengthen their reading abilities. One way to do that is by giving them books about things for which they are passionate. For example, a child who loves dogs might be drawn to Jazzy's Books. These stories follow the life of a lab-boxer mix and are geared toward young readers. While there are at least twenty books in the collection, we have read the following: Growing Up Jazzy; Jazzy Time, Jazzy and Friends; Jazzy Explores the Library; and Princess Jazzy.

Growing Up Jazzy follows the first year of the dog's life. It is a brief month-by-month timeline written in rhyme. Each page includes a simple phrase in large font, with the rest of the page dedicated to one large photograph of Jazzy or several smaller ones.

Jazzy Time follows a similar format but focuses on the hours of her day. The pictures show Jazzy in various activities such as playing with a hose, watching a butterfly, eating, sleeping, and more fun things. 

The style of Jazzy and Friends changes a little. The reading level increases as more complex words and full-page texts are incorporated. The author replaces rhyming with prose and tells much of the story through conversation. This book introduces five new friends who play with Jazzy. It dissuades judging people–or dogs–before you get to know them and encourages friendliness and acceptance. Readers will find a description of each dog at the end of the story. 

Jazzy goes on an outing in Jazzy Explores the Library. She searches through books on a quest to find bones, learns how to use the card catalog on the computer, breaks a library rule, and enjoys a story. The end of the book gives information about the Dewey Decimal System and a description of the various categories. 

The first four books are paperbacks, while the last one is hardcover. The book sizes vary and have varying paper quality. I like books in a series to match on a shelf, but I would not place these together because of the height variance.

In the final book, Princess Jazzy, Jazzy is determined to prove to everyone that she is a real princess. She believes all the typical stereotypes of fairytales and wears a crown and fancy clothes; she puts on long braids, sleeps on a pea, and even kisses a frog. In the end, a faithful friend convinces her that even though she is not an actual princess, she acts like one because she is a good dog who is loving, honest, and does her best. The previous books listed include beautiful photographs. However, Princess Jazzy's illustrations are not the same style. The illustrations resemble paintings.

Jazzy's Books would appeal to emerging readers who are dog lovers. The text is simple, the font is large and clear, and the pictures are numerous. The books show that Jazzy is well-loved, and the author enjoys documenting their lives together.

Product review by Erika Leaf, The Old Schoolhouse® November 2022