Seamus the Sheltie to the Rescue!
by James Beverly is a collection of engaging stories about Seamus the dog who encounters different situations in which important lessons are learned. Some of the issues addressed are tolerance, persistence, forgiveness, and caring for animals.
Seamus is a fun spirited dog who does not speak like everyone else. To facilitate the reader's understanding of Seamus' dialect, the author has included an explanation as to why Seamus speaks the way he does (a dog's mouth is not made the same way as a human's), as well as a dictionary of terms Seamus uses during the course of the stories. Also included at the end of the book is a section filled with chapter guides which include questions for discussion and further understanding of the lessons taught.
Although the adventures of Seamus are engaging, and the various plots and lessons learned are well told, I found Seamus' speech to be extremely distracting. ("Dat Puppy little an' not know nuffin! Dat hurted leg bone gonna git worser an' worser... Dat puppy unnerstan' dis Seamus?")Not only did it make for difficult storytelling by interrupting the flow, it also detracted from the lesson being taught in that I had to explain what Seamus was saying, rather than focus on the message the author was trying to share. My children were even distracted by the poor grammar and would tell me what Seamus should have said instead.
I understand the motivation behind the author's choice in making Seamus speak the way he does. I also feel that Seamus' speech shows his great innocence. However, if we are to allow for the imagination of a dog speaking, then why must he speak so poorly? Not only does Seamus drop or change letters in his speech, but he does not use connecting words such as "is." Dogs in general are extremely smart. So why not have Seamus speak properly and incorporate a speech impediment such as a lisp, or growling Rs, instead? I feel that these alternatives would lend to easier storytelling and less distraction from the important lessons being taught.
On a scale of 1-4, I give this book a 2.5. With Seamus speaking in at least every other paragraph, it made for a bumpy ride. The stories and lessons are wonderful, but were greatly detracted from by the speech of the dog.
This book was published by Nightengale Press
Thank you to James Beverly for the gift of this book.