Title: A Quilt for Charley
Author: Sharon Winters
Genre: Picture Book
In A Quilt for Charley, author Sharon Winters and artist Toby Mikle join together to tell the story of a dog named Charley and his journey to finding a forever home. Told from Charley’s perspective, this picture book will show readers what it’s like to feel lost and alone, and how to overcome it all through love.
The book opens with Charley wandering alone in a park. He wanders alone for so long that he’s picked up and taken to an adoption center where the adoption workers assure him he’ll be chosen to go to a new home. But being chosen isn’t so easy. Day in and day out people walk by his cage and no one gives him a chance. Becoming reclusive and discouraged, Charley sulks in the back of his cage. Will anyone ever love him?
Written with depth and emotion, the book highlights Charley’s character growth as he finds his confidence, self-worth, and sense of belonging in the world. As his confidence grows, Charley’s voice is funny and charming, and his personality shines through the pages. Following Charley’s evolution throughout the book is inspiring and will serve as a reminder to young readers to never give up hope no matter how bleak things may seem.
The book spends a lot of time focusing on feelings and emotions. Over the course of the book, Charley’s feelings and emotions shift from confused to scared to discouraged to hopeful to happy. The sad parts of the story are just as powerful and memorable as the happy parts. The anxiety and sadness Charley feels at the adoption center are as impactful as the warmth and joy he feels when he does find his forever home. Demonstrating a full range of feelings and emotions is a great example for young readers who are learning about how their own feelings and emotions may manifest. It also teaches compassion for animals and those who don’t have a voice for themselves.
The pictures are charming, but we don’t have a moment in the book where we flip to a page and are completely captivated and transported by the artwork. Overall, the story itself outshines the illustrations, and although the artwork helps to capture specific moments in the story, it isn’t as memorable as we wish it could’ve been. Instead of elevating the text and using the artwork as an opportunity to enhance the characterization, the mood, and the themes of the book, the illustrations are safe and simple, and we rely on the text to get more depth and meaning.
This picture book would make a perfect series where readers could follow different types of animals as they find their forever homes. Dogs are typically the pet breed that gets the most attention when people talk about pet adoption, so shining a light on other pets could be eye-opening for children (and adults!) who aren’t aware of the many pet breeds and types who are also in need of a loving home.
A Quilt for Charley is an inspiring story that teaches young readers the importance of family and the power of love. Home is where the heart is in this feel-good picture book about finding your place in the world. Inspirational, touching, and heartfelt, A Quilt for Charley will touch the hearts of animal lovers of all kinds.
This Editorial Review was written by the Book Review Directory staff. To receive a similarly honest, professional review for one of your own books, click here.