Desert Health contributor Amy Austin, RN, PsyD, LMFT has published a warm and educational children’s book based on real characters from her own life. The book tells the story of Shaina, a striking black poodle, and her best friend Chuckles, a llama. The unlikely pair were actual friends and Shaina, a beloved pet of Dr. Amy’s.
“The book stresses the importance of performing random acts of kindness with the storyline about hearing a distressing noise and being willing to help and perform that act of kindness,” says Dr. Amy. The story is timely as we come out of quarantine and begin to interact once again.
Children will enjoy the adventure of following the noise and discovering what happens next. The joy Shaina experiences when she is able to get help for “the little one making the noise” is well portrayed in the book. The message that it is ok to get someone to help in an emergency is very clear and told in a gentle way throughout the story. The text is written with periodic rhyming and rhythm, which children will enjoy while listening.
The illustrations are whimsical and will keep children interested in trying to find the source of the noise. As each page is filled with a variety of little critters, children will find new things to point out each time they read or hear the story.
The end of the book has questions and suggestions for the adult reader to help children understand and prepare for any possible emergency situation, such as who to call if someone is in need. If the child is an early reader, it is important for someone older to help guide the follow-up questions and discussion.
The illustrator, Hayley Lockwood, has given children the gift of art through her illustrations which follow the story, yet enlarge the environment with farm animals and countryside scenery.
Dr. Amy has written a book that will not only help children, but will also help families develop a way to cope with unexpected situations. I believe this story would be an asset to have at home as well as in the early childhood environment. It is a cute story with a good and important message.
Desert Health Editor and Event Manager Doris Steadman is a retired elementary school counselor with two master’s degrees in early childhood development. She was also the manager of the children’s book department at Barnes & Noble in Palm Desert. To purchase The Adventures of Shaina and Chuckles “I Heard a Noise!” (Maxim Publishers, 2021) contact Dr. Amy at [email protected] or (760) 774.0047.