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Frankie the Walk ‘n Roll Dog

June 21, 2009

Frankie the Walk ‘n Roll Dog by Barbara Techel
published by Joyful Paw Prints January 11, 2008

My 10-year-old son is what one might call a reluctant reader. As further proof that God has a sense of humor :-), this insane bookworm has three children who are not avid readers. And I rarely find my son sitting still with a book, unless it is full of Calvin and Hobbes cartoons. Those of you with energetic little boys understand what I mean. 😉 However, one day I found James glued to the couch in my library, turning the pages of a book and laughing out loud. I looked down to see what was in his hands — he was reading my copy of Frankie the Walk ‘n Roll Dog. My five-year-old has also listened to this story, and I have read it multiple times, thoroughly enjoying it each time.

Frankie is an adorable dachshund puppy — curious, playful and full of joy — who has been adopted by a loving family. She faces the typical challenges of life, like struggling with house training, and she loses a beloved friend, another family dog who dies of cancer. She also savors the joy of bring loved and nurtured by her human family, going for walks, playing in the grass, and welcoming a new canine addition to the household.

Then Frankie is injured in an accident which leaves her partially paralyzed. We watch her progress through her rehabilitation, tenderly cared for by her mom, who massages and bathes her. Then we see her adapt to a custom-fitted wheel chair. Everything has changed in her life. Yet she is still playful, well-loved, and joyful. And the new people she meets add color and richness to her life.

This book is based on a true story. I admit it is difficult for me to review it objectively, since I have come to know Barbara Techel on this blog tour, and I like and respect her tremendously. However, I really loved this book. This is one of those rare picture books that can be enjoyed on many levels. Many adults have been touched by this children’s book. With its wonderful story and appealing illustrations, toddlers and preschoolers can enjoy it — a parent can retell the story simply or just leave out some of the words. Yet there is enough text to make it challenging and interesting for older children.

I have three amazing kids, and each of them has some sort of “special needs.” This book seems to resonate deeply with us moms of kids with challenges. You can see the sadness and fear Barbara and Frankie experienced, yet you can also see the joy and hope, the experience of overcoming challenges, and Frankie’s unchanged heart and spirit. I can certainly relate to all those aspects of the journey.

Also, like many parents of kids (and animals) with “special needs,” Barbara found that this experience opened a new dimension in her life. She discovered a new passion in sharing Frankie’s story with the world, letting people know that when dogs are traumatically injured they do have options. And in a broader sense, she has enjoyed being an inspiration to anyone with obstacles to overcome. She struggled through something devastating, responded with great love, and ultimately discovered her purpose in life — I found this to be the most powerful message of all.
To learn more, and to order a copy of this multi-award winning picture book, please visit http://www.joyfulpaws.com/

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