by Allen & Linda Anderson

New World Library, $14.95, 195 pages

Animals and the Kids Who Love Them, Extraordinary True Stories of Hope, Healing and Compassion is a disappointing collection of stories edited (not written) by authors Allen & Linda Anderson, who seem to have a long list of “books” on topics all sounding very similar to this one. The text is arbitrarily broken into three emotional triggers, as the long and awkward title suggests: hope, healing and compassion, but it takes a long stretch of the imagination to grasp how Pepperoni the turtle who teaches a young boy the benefits of eating lettuce implies compassion versus the “hopeful” story of Surf Dog Ricochet raising money for handicapped children.

Most of the episodic articles seem to be written by someone very close to the animal subject whose most enthusiastic calling is their miracle pet, while journalistic expertise comes in much lower on the list. Call me a cynic, but these short, newsy stories seem more suited as treatments for an Animal Planet pilot where one can enjoy warm and fuzzy close-ups of beautifully groomed service animals performing odd, but heartwarming acts of human, well, service.

Reviewed by Bryan Burch