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Bentos for A Gaggle of Girls
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Great Books with a great cause

We found the first The Adventures of Maxi the Taxi Dog book earlier, and reviewed it with some other books about finding a home (Maxi is a stray dog who is adopted by Jim, a taxi driver). What I didn’t realize at the time is that a percentage of the proceeds from all of the wonderful Maxi Taxi books are donated to animal shelters to help the animals who still need homes. We received the other three Maxi Taxi books through interlibrary loan, and have loved all of them – they are fun and engaging for the kids (3, 6, 8 ), and the rhyming scheme is fun for the reader, too.

(An aside to adult readers – these books were published before September 11, 2001, and as a result there are pictures of the World Trade Center towers in the skylines of New York City. On one page in Maxi, the Star, you see the WTC towers as a part of the skyline, with an airplane flying above them in the clouds. The sight was jarring for this adult reader, and I wish I had known about the picture prior to reading the books)

Maxi the Hero is written by Debra and Sal Barracca, and illustrated by Mark Buehner. In this story, Maxi the Taxi dog and his owner Jim take several fun people on trips around New York City, and then a man steals a woman’s purse. Maxi says:

The thief tried to flee –
It was now up to me!
I had to run faster to catch him.
I was close to his heel
When he slipped on a peel
And at last I was able to snatch him

Maxi is named a hero, and his picture appears on page one of the New York Times, with people waving to him and calling to him as they travel around the city.

The authors have a new illustrator, Alan Ayers, for Maxi, the Star but my daughters and I thought that the illustrations were very similar to the originals. This story follows up on Maxi the Hero, and in the story a producer hops into Jim and Maxi’s taxi and invites him out to Hollywood to screen test to be the star of a dog food commercial. Jim and Maxi drive the taxi out of New York City and drive across the country with their taxi filled with suitcases. They stop for food at places with signs that say “EATS”, visit with farmers in wheat fields, and see the sights. When they arrive in Hollywood, they do the screen test, and of course everything works out well. But they are happy to return home, “Back home was the best place to be.” It ends with a great picture of Maxi and Jim watching Maxi on TV!

It appears as if A Taxi Dog Christmas is currently out of print, but if you can find a copy through your library or the used books on Amazon or elsewhere, it’s another fun read. The great illustrations and the fun rhyming scheme continue, while Maxi and Jim decorate for Christmas. They play in the snow, making a snow dog, but then they hear a “meow”, and “six cold, hungry kittens we found.” They bring the kittens to the Taxi garage so they can begin their work, but the kitties get loose! “The fur started flying / As drivers were trying / To catch them before they could flee.” All is well, though, as “each lucky tabby / Went home with a cabbie, / Except one who wanted to play.” Of course Maxi and the new kitten have fun seeing the Christmas sights of New York City, until their fun is disrupted when Santa crashes! His sled has broken, and he can’t carry the toys without the sled! The reindeer are hitched to the taxi at Santa’s request, and “Together we saved Christmas Day.”

It’s lovely to find sweet, gentle, fun books that are still interesting for kids and the reader. We highly recommend all of these!

One Response to “Great Books with a great cause”

  • Linda says:

    Don’t forget to find the hidden pictures in all of them! There’s cats in one, penguins in another.