‘Legs’ & ‘Missing Jack’ are fine options for young readers

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I’m always excited when I get an email from the publicists at IPG (Independent Publishers Group). Their offerings are from small publishing houses, and because of that, they’re often more unique than the usual fare. “Legs: The Tale of a Very Small Meerkat” and “Missing Jack” are no different.

Screen Shot 2016-05-21 at 2.02.13 PM“LEGS: THE TALE OF A VERY SMALL MEERKAT,” by Sarah J. Dodd and Giusi Capizzi, Lion Hudson, Oct. 1, 2015, Hardcover, $16.99 (ages 2-5)

Miki the meerkat lives with his mama under the ground, where it is warm, dark and safe. One day, Miki wakes up to find Mama missing. She’s outside. Don’t worry, she assures Miki. It’s safe at the zoo and the keeper will take care of them. Miki emerges to an unfamiliar world full of lots and lots of legs.

“Legs” looks at the world from a meerkat’s point of view. For Miki, the world consists of pink legs, wrinkly legs, stripy legs and spotted legs. Later, he sees human legs and buildings that look like legs. It’s not until the zookeeper picks him up that he realizes there are faces attached to those legs.

Miki’s point of view is exactly that of young children, who spend a lot of time looking up. His story is also that of the classic lost-and-found variety that children often relate to. The text is easy and illustrations are charming. My 2-year-old daughter enjoyed guessing what kind of animals paired up with the legs and became invested in Miki’s story.

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Screen Shot 2016-05-21 at 2.07.32 PM“MISSING JACK,” by Rebecca Elliott, Lion Hudson, April 1, 2015, Hardcover, $16.99 (ages 2-5)

Jack is the best cat ever. He’s friendly, never scratched and is never boring. But Jack gets old and then he dies. It’s hard to move on, but one day a crazy cat named Humphrey enters the picture. He’s not the best cat ever, but he’s pretty awesome.

First off, I have to admit I am not a pet person. I’m not a fan of the furry four-legged creatures. I do, however, have many friends and family members that have welcomed pets into their homes and have grieved when those pets have passed. They feel the loss keenly. I can only imagine how hard that would be for a young child. “Missing Jack” helps address a child’s first experience of the death of a pet. The illustrations are sweet and the message heartfelt with a little bit of humor mixed in.

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About Author

Jessica Harrison is the main reviewer behind Cracking the Cover. Prior to creating Cracking the Cover, Jessica worked as the in-house book critic for the Deseret News, a daily newspaper in Salt Lake City. Jessica also worked as a copy editor and general features writer for the paper. Following that, Jessica spent two years with an international company as a social media specialist. She is currently a freelance writer/editor. She is passionate about reading and giving people the tools to make informed decisions in their own book choices.

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