Dogs and Puppies: Heartwarming Stories of Man’s Best Friend

From Ginny Pisciotta
Author:  Matthew Schneider
Title:  Dogs and Puppies: Heartwarming Stories of Man’s Best Friend
This is a picture book specifically created for memory-impaired adults and is designed to be used in a shared reading experience with a family member, caregiver or friend.  It is not a continuous story – each set of pages has it’s own story and picture, so the book can be read a little at a time or all at once. The print is large, the language is simple and the pictures of dogs and their owners are delightful.  The back of the book has conversation starters for each set of pages, as well as activity ideas. The front of the book includes interaction guidelines for the caregiver.  This book can be an effective tool for building connections with someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia.

Driving over lemons: an optimist in Andalucia

From Jackie Cantwell
author: Stewart, Chris
Driving over lemons: an optimist in Andalucia
This is book one of the Driving over lemons trilogy.  Chris Stewart is now one of my favorite authors.  He was the original drummer for the band Genesis and has been a sheep shearer and circus musician.  He and his wife Ana decided to ditch England and buy a peasant farm called El Valero in rural southern Spain, about twenty years ago.  The seller of the farm, Pedro Romero, won’t leave and Chris has other problems:  clogged water channels, a leaky roof, a river in need of a bridge, hillsides that need terracing, outbuildings that need to be repaired, recalcitrant sheep, etc.  When Chris’ mother sees a photo of his newly purchased home, she is appalled.  “I had hoped that you might end up living in a Queen Anne house”, she lamented.  “I’ve always liked Queen Anne.  But here you are, living in what I can only describe as a stable”. They attempt to raise poultry but fail; it is thusly described: “The quails, the smallest of the menagerie, were frightened of the chickens; the chickens didn’t like the guinea-fowl or the pigeons, though they could live with the quails; the guinea-fowl were indifferent to the pigeons but were terrified of the quails and hated the chickens; the pigeons were affected by the guinea-fowls’ terror of the quails, nervous of the possibility of a chicken-quail alliance, piqued by the indifference of the guinea-fowl, and shared everybody else’s dislike of the chickens”.
Mr. Stewart is an amiable, humorous and humble host.  Chris’ descriptions of the mountains, rivers, valleys, flora and fauna are so vivid that you feel as though you are there.  I could almost smell the rosemary and lavender and taste the lemons.  Chris Stewart does for Andalucia what James Herriot did for Yorkshire.