Friday, July 29, 2016

Celebrate Christmas in July?! Then Here's the Perfect Older Children's Book! by Frances Crossno...

I felt a bit bad about rushing him. I just had to look at the puppies, even if there wasn't time to play with them. I took a last look at the clock behind the counter. It was 5:00--time to leave for home. I grabbed Caleb's hand. "Come on."
I pushed through the now large crowd at the window of the Dog House, pulling Caleb with me. "Excuse me," I said to the man I nudged out of the way. I knew Mom would not have approved, but I would worry about that later. 
Suddenly, I was right up to the window. There they were! All thoughs of heading home, of taking care of Caleb, of Mom and Dad being gone at Christmas--just flew out of my head.

A big puppy, with thick, gray and silver fur, shook a ball at the other puppies. A solid-black puppy ran around the big one and nipped at his heels. A white puppy with black spots growled at a brown, wrinkled puppy. It was funny to see wrinkles on a puppy.
"Look at that one!" Caleb said, pointing to a little puppy with red-golden fur. She was jumping on the window, trying to lick a man's hand. The puppy couldn't understand why she couldn't lick his fingers through the glass. She sat down with a thud and a single frustrated bark.
I have heard grown-ups talk about "love" at first sight. Until now, I never really understood what they meant. But there she was. The love of my life!

Cole's Perfect Puppy:
Perfect Puppies Book One

Winner of the prestigious Mom's Choice Award
First-Place award in the Purple Dragonfly content--middle grade fiction

By Frances Crossno

Merry Christmas! Cole had made no secret of wanting a puppy--whenever he could get one. And when they had visited the mall that day, he had found the perfect one! He had even become involved with more than he could have ever imagined!
I couldn't believe my luck. The manager of the Dog House opened the back of the display window and picked up the red-golder pup. He put her on the floor. The crowd moved back a little to give the puppy room. Caleb and I pushed our way inside. The puppy sniffed around the floor and pawed at the top of the manager's shoes.
"Let me see her," said a teenage girl...I tried to get closer but there were too many girls. I checked to make sure Caleb was still behind me and moved to the other side of the crowd.

She was out of
breath too, but her
shining eyes said it
all. "Isn't this fun?
I could do it again
real soon!"
One of the girls passing the dog around had dropped the pup when he tore a hole in her sweater. Well, you know what happened...the pup took off...into the mall!

This is a good time to point out that this is a short novella--90 pages--and contains no pictures; however, the author has created a delightfully written narrative that is expressive and emotive and it is easy for anyone to imagine what is happening in the story.

"Yes, I'm Cole Jackson. I live
down Peachtree Road, not far
from here. I love dogs," I said.
I scratched behind the puppy's
"Mr. Morris, how much does
this puppy cost?" I asked.
"Well, I was asking six hundred
dollars for her...
"Wow, that is a lot of money,"
It was late when they finally caught the dog and Cole called Uncle Bobby to come get them, explaining what had happened... I wanted to tell Uncle Bobby right then that it was time for Cole to have his Pup! 

But his parents were away working and his Uncle, while staying with them, watching them during this time, Cole was not sure they would even consider a pet right now.

Who knew that, under the influence of his girlfriend, his Uncle would get him... a... piglet... Ahhhh, Duh! You have got to be kidding me, right?! You just can't play ball with a pig...

And right there, readers will realize the kind of family in which Caleb and Cole was being raised. While feeling let down, Cole graciously, but sadly, accepted the gift and tried not to feel bitterness...

I wanted to mention one other character. Her name is Rachel and she was in Caleb's class. In the crowded mall that day, she waved and offered a seat at her table. But Caleb wanted to ignore her because she was called "Wrinkled Rachel" and was teased at school all the time. Cole again, impressed me when he told Caleb right away about what he should say in response to be bully. Her story is a wonderful addition to the book, and I had to add her because, well she liked kittens... She'd had a calico Persian, a present from her father before he went overseas, and was killed. Rachel had to give up her kitten when they relocated to find a job for her mother...

It is Rachel who starts talking to the boys about Jesus...
Rachel put her cup on the counter and leaned forward. In almost a whisper, she said, "Daddy explained it to me this way. Yu know how when you do something bad at school, and you know your favorite teacher will be angry or disappointed in you?"
I nodded.
"Well, you don't feel like talking to the teaher then do you? You feel guilty?
I nodded again and Rachel leaned back. "Well, it's kind of like that. When people do things against what God wants them to do, it makes God sad and keeps them from talking to him or being close to him. He wants us to be close to him where he can love and take care of us. He allowed his son, Jesus to be punished for what we do wrong.
"Like, if I took punishment for something Caleb did?"
"Yeah, like that. He loves us that much. It was the reason Jesus was born...

And when they learned their parents were in danger, Cole remembered Rachel's guidance...and prayed...

The thing I liked most about the book is the authenticity, the compassion, and the loving attitude of the characters--all of them. The story is a blessing in itself. When you add the beautifully kind and generous characters provided, you just have to realize, in my opinion, that this will be a message to your child from God Almighty...


I grew up in East Texas in the Lufkin area. I graduated from Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas with a Bachelor of Science in Biology and a minor in Computer Science. As an only child, dogs were always good companions for me. Those relationships taught me about unconditional love and what a person might do to have that kind of love.

I think I wrote my first little story as a 3rd or 4th grader about a little girl whose father was flying into a Hurricane to determine information about it.

I am a Christian and belong to the Baptist Church. After college I went to work for Texas Instruments(TI) in Dallas, Texas. I retired from there in 2009 as an Information Technology project manager and now work for the American Heart Association. When I retire from there in a few years I desire to have a writing career. I want my Perfect Puppy series to give Christian parents another option in the 7-12 age group. There are a lot of options for teens and pre-schoolers in the Christian Genre, less for 7-12 years old.

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