Two golden retrievers are important staff members at Penn State Children’s Hospital.
The well-trained dogs are part of the Child Life program, and one day in their busy lives is thoroughly described—in fact, too thoroughly described. A very wordy text overwhelms this picture book as the dogs meet child after child throughout the hospital: in the lobby, patient rooms, the group play area, the crafts space, and the MRI area. Children and staff in the colorful but stiff illustrations are racially diverse. These dogs exhibit exceptional intelligence and emotional understanding, but sometimes the text stretches credulity. When Kaia meets a young patient, the dog looks confused when a nurse mentions “the balloon that helped Stella get here.” The nurse explains to the dog (and readers) that a colorful hot air balloon is the symbol of the Children’s Miracle Network. “Kaia was impressed.” The book seems to be trying to appeal to young children but is constantly promoting both the hospital and the charities supporting its important work. Episodes when one of the dogs demonstrates how her training helps with patients are sweet and informative, but they are simply surrounded by too much verbiage. The title refers to a newly opened additional floor and a third dog, introduced on the final page. (This book was reviewed digitally with 9-by-12-inch double-page spreads viewed at 39.5% of actual size.)
Of potential use to children entering a pediatric hospital. (Picture book. 6-8)