Toby, the Pet Therapy Dog and his Hospital Friends is a picture book by Charmaine Hammond, a follow up to On Toby’s Terms, Ms. Hammond’s first book about Toby, the five-year old Chesapeake Bay retriever she and her husband adopted.
Toby is a pet therapy dog who visits sick children in the hospital. Through his patience, and unconditional love, Toby makes the children’s hospital stay a little brighter.
This simple chronicle of Toby’s day at the hospital gives children (and parents) an insight into what therapy dogs do, and the emotional and spiritual benefits their presence can have. From playing with the kids, dozing to stories told by the nurse at story time, and keeping an older patient company in the garden, Toby’s happy visits are much anticipated not only by the young and old at the hospital, but by Toby himself.
Being in the hospital can be a frightening experience for a child, and a lonely one, if the stay is long. Pet therapy animals like Toby can have a significant impact on reducing that stress. Toby and his Hospital Friends demonstrates what an important job Toby has. The language and the pictures are simple and easy to understand, and kids will enjoy following Toby on his rounds visiting with different patients.
A list of questions at the end of the book help engage children in thinking about the story and can promote meaningful discussions between adult and child.
Books can assist kids in addressing their fears, be it of dogs, doctors, or hospitals, and give voice to anxiety they may have a difficult time expressing. To this end, the gentle story of Toby and his Hospital Friends will definitely appeal to its target audience.
Reviewed for BookPleasures.com