Need a gift for a dog loving child? Look no further! These adorable children’s books full of advice and life lessons for young readers have you covered!
It’s a Stray Dog’s Life by Maximilian Sam
Have you ever wondered what dogs are thinking when you look at them? Now you can find out as Princess, Buster and Snowy share their adventures as stray dogs. You’ll soon realise being a stray dog is much more fun than you thought as you meet their friends, both doggy and human, and spend some time living their lives. You never know, you might make three new friends along the way.
I was given a review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review – thank you Maximillian Sam!
It’s a Stray Dog’s Life is full of warm relationships between the dogs themselves and also between the dogs and Ollie, a human who makes sure they are fed and healthy. Peppered with plenty of life lessons for young readers and told in the first person by the stray dogs themselves, this adorable book tells the stories of three separate stray dogs in Turkey: Princess, Buster and Snowy. Along the way they encounter peril in the form of cars, bullies – both doggy and human, illness, friends moving away, fear of new situations and more. These are all situations which arise in our lives and could cause anxiety for children. The dogs have helpful advice to impart to young readers in a wise and gentle manner:
“Princess and Ollie taught me the important things in life. Always be fair and be nice to people. If you smile at someone they will smile back. If you bark at them they will bark back. I think it’s why I always try to be fair to everyone. We all have bad days but it doesn’t make us bad ourselves. Everyone has a nice part to them, even those that don’t seem to have any friends.”
“If you don’t try you will never know what can happen and you’ll never meet amazing dogs or people that make life so interesting.“
“I will never accept bullies and I don’t understand them. I’ve always found if you ask nicely people will share everything, but if you fight they will fight back. We all have bad days but, if you are friendly most of the time, everyone will still be nice to you on those days.“
When lucky Buster gets adopted he feels both happy and sad to leave his friends and move to a new town even though the family will return every summer:
“Everyone’s scared of change because they don’t know what their new life will be like. Ollie told me the story of moving school. He had got used to having his friends around him, knowing where he needed to be and at what time, when he could play and when he had to work. When he was old enough it was time to change school. At first he’d been very sad and scared. He’d have to make new friends and wouldn’t know where to go or when. He wouldn’t know who to ask if he had a problem or didn’t understand something. As days went by he started to get excited about meeting new people, seeing new places and having new adventures.“
Snowy is full of energy and a little crazy compared to the other dogs. We learn about diversity in her story:
“There’s nothing wrong with being different.”
Poor Snowy has breathing problems and needs an operation. From her story we also learn to be brave in the face of illness:
“Waiting for the injection is much worse than actually having it“
There are a few references which may go over young readers’ heads but which parents should pick up on. Ollie likes to listen to Snoop Doggy Dog on the car radio and watch Lassie movies.
All in all this is a charming and well written book, full of useful tips and learning opportunities for young readers.
It’s a Stray Dog’s Life 2 by Maximilian Sam
The stray dogs are back to share more of their lives and adventures.
This time you’ll meet Mumsy as she tries to control her two puppies, Pitch and Putt, despite the best efforts of Snowy to lead them astray.
There’s Jasper, who learns being a friendly dog can lead to good things happening as he discovers, with his forever family, a new home in the city of Izmir.
Finally, you can investigate crimes alongside the master detective, Toby. Be careful, though. He might not be as clever as he thinks he is.
Princess, Buster, and some of the other stray animals you met before all make an appearance as the family of strays grows and the adventures continue.
Another excellent installment in the ‘Stray Dogs’ series by Maximillian Sam. This time we meet some new strays, Mumsy and her puppies Pitch and Putt were found by their human friend Ollie under a hedge while golfing, hence the names he chooses for the puppies.
Mumsy teaches another set of stray puppies discovered by Pitch, Putt and Snowy how to behave:
“The puppies were going to have a good life. I knew they would be kind and helpful to other stray dogs they met because they’d never forget how Pitch and Putt looked after them. It goes to show, if you treat others well, they will turn out kind. A smile and some friendship go a long way.”
She’s the mother figure to all the dogs in the area and loves them all.
Jasper’s story comes next and we are told that his theme song is Living on a Prayer by Bon Jovi due to the near death state Ollie found him in. He used to get into a lot of fights and is now very scarred. Luckily for Jasper he finds his forever family and moves to Izmir with them after Ollie trains him.
He comes back for the summer and is glad to catch up with his old friends and all the news he has missed out on.
The final story is about Toby the detective who is named after Sherlock Holmes’ bloodhound:
“I learned another lesson. Investigate the scene before charging in at high speed otherwise, it’s very easy to find yourself up to your chin in the smelly stuff.”
In this way through amusing anecdotes young readers are again taught useful life lessons:
“I have great ideas, but maybe I need to think about them a bit more before trying them out.”
Much like the first book in this series, this is a heartwarming collection of humorous stories, lessons and advice told by the stray dogs themselves.
About the Author
Maximilian Sam is the award winning author of “It’s A Stray Dog’s Life”. He has, so far, lived in 10 countries around the World. He started in the UK before drifting across Europe, the Middle East and South East Asia. He is now, slowly, making his way back from East to West and is currently based in Turkey until the next stop comes calling.
Max has worked in PR for over 25 years with some of the biggest global companies and some smaller ones too. His career has allowed him to travel and see parts of the world most only ever see in holiday magazines. There are still many places to see and experiences to enjoy. He certainly isn’t finished yet.
Max launched the “Stray Dogs” series in 2022. The stories tell the tales of the stray dogs he has looked after in Turkey through their eyes. There are many other stray dogs and cats he’s made friends with, so expect the series to grow as time goes by.
Max grew up in the UK and calls Watford his true home. If a stray can ever have a true home. It also accounts for his devotion to Saracens Rugby Club and Watford FC, a combination probably requiring therapy. He finds the easiest way of dealing with bad results is to jump on a boat or jetski and leave his troubles out on the water.
Max grew up surrounded by rough collies (think Lassie) and knows, when he finally quits his globetrotting days and settles down, there will be two more of his favourite breed to share his house. He was also fortunate to meet many interesting people as a child and has carried this through his adult life in the belief people make the World interesting. It also supplies plenty of anecdotes and mad escapades to include in future books or his regular blog.
You can keep up to date with Max at www.maximiliansam.com and across social media.
2 thoughts on “It’s a Stray Dog’s Life and It’s a Stray Dog’s Life 2 by Maximilian Sam”
I’m a dog lover and I do wonder what they are thinking. This sounds perfect for kids.
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It’s a great series!