In the children’s book, Love Me Gently, a boy named Henry shares what he learns about caring for his new puppy, Cooper. This wonderful book encourages children to be kind to animals. Written in first person, Henry teaches the basics of taking care of a puppy, as well as his understanding that Cooper has feelings. Cooper can be hurt or he can be happy. When Cooper is happy he will be the “best dog ever” and he and Henry will be terrific friends. The illustrations are colorful and cheerful, perfect for a story that is geared towards children 3 to 8 years old.
Two repetitive phrases are used effectively throughout the book. Henry wants to teach Cooper to sit, but Cooper does not understand, Henry does not shout at Cooper, because, “that might hurt.” Instead, Henry gives Cooper a treat when Cooper does finally sit and “that makes him happy.”
I had the pleasure of watching this book read to a classroom of 7 and 8 year olds. The kids were engaged and enthusiastically joined in with the two repetitive sentences throughout the book, as Henry shares how both he and Cooper are learning and growing together. My favorite part is when Henry learns that Cooper could run away and how important it is to keep the gate shut. He also learns that Cooper must always wear a collar with his name tag, so if he does escape, he can come home again.
We recommend this book as a valuable tool to teach kindness to animals in a way that children can understand, especially since it is written from Henry’s perspective.