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Book Review: Alphabet Woof by Sherrie A. Madia, illustrated by Patrick Carlson

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Who knew alphabet soup could grant a dog the ability to speak? I certainly didn’t. Though we heard Dug express himself in Pixar’s movie Up, I also didn’t realize that dogs had a lot on their minds beyond food, play, and going outside. I doubt that the two dogs at your house would want to do more than complain about the squirrels in their back yard.

In Alphabet Woof! by author Sherrie A. Madia, Moxy, the family dog, makes a mess. After that, it’s as though his wish came through and he could express his innermost thoughts!

Let’s start at the beginning… Moxy is an excitable dog who chases a bee and then decides he’d really like a taste of whatever magical dish Aunt Mabel has fixed for the family to eat. The little boy narrating the story slips as he’s sitting down at the table and his foot knocks over the bowl of alphabet soup his Aunt had made. This makes more than a little bit of a mess, which Moxy is more than happy to help clean up.

While cleaning up the mess, Moxy speaks up and says to the Mom who’s offering a cloth to help clean up the floor – “Oh here, let me get that. It was partly my fault.” When she figures out who spoke, she screams and then the family tries to figure out what happened. Evidently the soup was imbued with a magical property that allows one wish to be granted by “Just one special person — or dog in this case — who wishes a wish while enjoying my cooking.”

It seems that Moxy had a few things on his mind he wanted to share!

Told in a loose rhyme, Madia answers the question I think we’ve all wondered from time to time… Just what is our pet thinking? This leads the family on a magical journey that helps them understand what is most important about communication and that is talking to the people who matter the most – our loved ones.

Written for families, I think that though the rhymes lost me at times, Alphabet Woof! will be fun for kids and parents to read out loud together. I read the book out loud to my two daughters, ages 5 and 9, and they both giggled at the situations Moxy and his family got into. It was a lot of fun to read together.

The illustrations by Patrick Carlson are bright, inviting, and colorful from cover to cover and I think that really helped keep us in the story as we could see what was happening on each page. I think children young and old will enjoy Moxy’s vibrant adventure as they go from suburbia to Hollywood and back again by the end. All of the characters’ faces and body language make it easy to see how each is feeling as they experience the story.

Madia, Ph.D. is a communicator at heart – whether working as a Managing Partner at EyeCatcher Digital, a marketing consulting firm, talking to students at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, or talking to her kids. In addition to Alphabet Woof!, she has co-written several survival guides for business marketing and job hunting, including The Social Media Survival Guide: Everything You Need to Know to Grow Your Business Exponentially with Social Media, The Online Job Search Survival Guide, and S.E.R.I.A.L.PRENEURSHIP: The Secrets of Repeatable Business Success. Madia has also worked extensively within the not-for-profit sector, including facilitation of a $28 million grant from the Department of Education for Temple University’s Center for Research in Human Development in Education (CHRDE).

Carlson has been cartooning since 1991 and has created characters and illustrations for folks all over the world. In addition to Alphabet Woof! he also wrote and illustrated Too Tall Joe – the story of a mile high man and how friendship is based not on your appearance, but on who you are inside.

Alphabet Woof! was a fun, colorful adventure for kids and parents alike. Hopefully Madia and Carlson will team up again in the future for more of Moxy’s adventures!

For more about Alphabet Woof! check out the Alphabet Woof! website. And for more of Carlson’s work, check out his site.

About Fitz

Fitz is a software engineer and writer who lives in Colorado Springs, CO, with his family and pets, trying to survive the chaos!