When I first met Author Billi Tiner on Twitter and saw the cover of The Rescue Team, the first thing that intrigued me about this wonderful book for youngsters in the “middle grades” or grades 9-12, was the cover! The cover features the two “stars” of this heartwarming and excitement filled book, Ellie, a Border Collie with an endearing “smile” and a penchant for “spinning”, ( Shelties can certainly relate!), who was unceremoniously “dumped” off at a shelter when his owners discovered they were going to have a baby, and Toby, a silver-gray tabby cat, who was also treated less than admirably by his owners
When I read the first few pages I was hooked! There were many things that I loved about this book, but one of the main themes that I loved was the “pay it forward” message that Ellie and Toby display throughout the entire story. Having been rescued, they live their lives rescuing OTHERS, both people and other animals. Ellie, being a “working” dog, finds her “job”, her ”purpose” rescuing others with Toby the cat, working devotedly by his side.
There are delightful “messages” or “lessons” that are learned when young people AND adults read The Rescue Team. The “pay it forward” message is clear but there are more messages such as, the power of love, devotion, determination, trust, courage, hope, to name a few.
Another aspect of The Rescue Team that I found to be delightful, was how Author Billi Tiner has the animals that are in this book “speak” to each other. There are examples of how they speak with their “eyes” throughout the book, sensing whether a person or an animal can be trusted, just by looking into their eyes. The animals in The Rescue Team “speak” to each other when no humans are around, they also have an uncanny ability to “speak” to the humans, Anne Richards, who adopts Ellie and Toby, and Brent Davis, the EMT who rescues Anne, (in more ways than one!)
Animals have an inherent form of communicating that humans who LISTEN understand, be it a “smile”, a “spin”, a tail wag, a cat showing love through brushing up against a human, Tiner shows throughout this book that SHE is an animal lover by her obvious understanding of these “gestures.”
The Rescue Team also teaches us how, often our first impressions can be wrong, as exhibited when Toby the cat is startled by Tank, the “huge” dog with the “freaky” eyes (one blue, one brown) that sent Toby running up the first tree that he could find!
The Rescue Team is a quick read, fast-moving, exciting, packed with warmhearted “feel good” moments and lessons that can be learned by both young people and adults alike.
Be sure to put this one on your MUST READ list!
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