Ho-Ho-Ho! The holidays are upon us and it`s time for doing all that shopping that I`ve – I mean we`ve put off. I thought it would be fun to read and recommend some children`s books over the next few weeks, since there is no better gift for a child than a book and a love of literature. What I`ll do is review books in three different age ranges – four to eight, eight to twelve and twelve and over. That should cover every child, grandchild, nephew or niece anyone may have on their gift-list.
Our first Word of Mouth for Kids will be for the four to eight year old ranges, although even younger children will enjoy ‘Hobo Finds A Home’ written by Hobo, as told to Kevin Coolidge, read to them. Kevin and his lovely bride, Kasey, own our local independent bookstore ‘From My Shelf Books ‘in Wellsboro, Pennsylvania. Hobo is a fixture in their bookstore and the official greeter, when he`s not napping.
I must say over the past year or two I`ve had the privilege of meeting with, chatting to and having various authors sign my copy of their books. But never have I had the honor of being able to give the writer a belly rub while having my elbow, or chin, head-bonked!
The story begins with Hobo, a lively kitten, who lives on Farmer Brown`s farm. Hobo isn`t like the other farm cats though, he doesn`t like sleeping in scratchy hay or getting stepped on by clumsy cows. One day the feisty feline decides he`s had enough and he leaves Farmer Brown`s farm. Off he goes into the world, and at first, he has grand adventures. He pretends he is a lion, he plays with sunbeams and butterflies and he sleeps under the stars. Hobo feels as if he were the king of the world!
But then he begins to feel lonely and hungry. He starts to miss Farmer Brown, the itchy hay and even those clumsy cows. He tries to make friends in the woods, but the opossum family he meets only wants to lie around and the black-and-white spice kitty makes him run away from its terrible stink.
One day, Hobo is walking down the road and begins to follow a man. The man notices that Hobo is hungry and when they get to the man’s house, he feeds him some tuna. But Gonzo, a big fat cat chases Hobo from his tuna dinner. The man takes Hobo inside, so he doesn`t have to fight with fat cats, opossums or spice kitty’s. Hobo moves in, gets the house suited to his liking, finds a lovely spot in front of the fire, gets his own bed and soft pillow, lots of food and most of all, Hobo finds a new friend and a home.
Hobo tells a wonderful tale. His story is warm and funny (I loved the term ‘spice kitty’ for a skunk!) and relays a very important message about friendship and family that even a non-reader can grasp with ease. The artwork is bright and friendly and colorful. It`s a perfectly paced story for a young child, not too long and not too short. If you are looking for a book to gift that special young child in your life with this holiday season, I highly recommend ‘Hobo Finds A Home’.
Oh, and as an extra incentive to purchase Hobo`s story (not that you`ll need one) a portion of the profits from the sale of the book are being donated to the Second Chance Animal Sanctuaries in North Central Pennsylvania. So not only will you be giving a beloved child a delightful book, you`ll also be helping unwanted pets to find new friends and homes.
Just like Hobo did.