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Book Reviews - The Adventures of Jessica Jones & Sox and Grandpa

Billy Buttons, The UK Wishing Shelf Book Awards

“A fun and educational ‘wildlife’ adventure, perfect for 7 – 10 year olds. Highly recommended'

I very much enjoyed this superbly illustrated picture book by Russell Irving. It follows two Jack Russell dogs (and grandpa) as they head off into the Australian forest on a fun adventure. Filled with lots of nature facts and a ton of amazing photographs, the book looks not so much at the two dogs but at the wildlife they encounter. And that, I think, is its strength.
To be honest, no matter how cute the two dogs are - and they are very cute - a Jack Russell is, well, a Jack Russell. I live in England and this breed of dog is everywhere; and I mean EVERYWHERE! But, in this picture book, they meet much more interesting insects, animals and birds. They enjoy the sounds of the male cicadas, they have a run in with a big lizard called a goanna, and they even see a forest kingfisher. Now that's interesting!
I suspect most young children, age 7 to 10, will find this book entertaining and educational. They’ll love the photography and they’ll love seeing the two dogs and grandpa trudging off into the forest on a wildlife adventure. There’s even a sprinkling of dog humor! The writing style is simple too, making it accessible to young children, and there are lots of fun facts for them to discuss. 
All in all, this book would go down very well in a school library and with parents looking to widen a child’s knowledge of the world and nature. 
Oh, and if you like Jack Russells, you’ll like it too!

Mary Lanni, book reviewer

Jessica Jones and Sox are two lovable Jack Russel Terriers who love going on adventures with their trusty human companion, Grandpa. Though their personalities differ greatly, these canines explore the landscape of their home in New South Wales, Australia with abandon. Accompanying Grandpa on his work with the Aboriginal Bundjalung community, Jessica Jones and Sox often get to experience nature first hand, sometimes getting into trouble along the way.

Dog fans will appreciate this story about Jessica Jones and Sox, especially as they engage in recognizable dog behavior together. Written for an elementary school aged audience, mid-length sentences and blocks of text sufficiently detail Jessica Jones and Sox’s story without being overwhelming. Peppered with fun facts, readers discover many aspects of dogs and the natural community in New South Wales as they read this book. Though the narrative is slightly longer than a traditional picture book, it showcases Grandpa’s love for his canine companions and the natural world around him in an accessible way.

This nonfiction picture book is primarily illustrated by full-color photographs of Jessica Jones, Sox, Grandpa, and the flora and fauna typical to the landscape in New South Wales. Lovely panoramas are shown alongside the brave adventurers to place readers easily in this location, no matter where they happen to be in the world. Occasional illustrations are placed within the images, creating an additional dimension on the chosen pages. 

Elementary school-aged readers interested in nature and dogs are sure to enjoy this depiction of New South Wales from a personal perspective. Using interactive language and critical thinking questions, readers are invited to participate more deeply in the story as they observe Jessica Jones and Sox’s adventures. This book is well designed for a series as these two canines encounter more exciting events alongside Grandpa, and it is an enjoyable tale for young children.

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