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Good choice to make Merlin as big as the dogs on the book cover we get a sense that Merlin fits right in with the pack, and thus adopts doglike ways.
Good scale and detail.
Great cadence in the text; wording is smooth and engaging. Very fun action and facial expressions in the illustrations, which is very important in children's books to convey emotions. The illustrations here do this very well. And adds a sense of play and motion to the images.
Excellent establishment of the challenge, which is Merlin having dog mannerisms and seeing in comparison to the other cat how he is different, so he slowly tries to climb and attempts some cat behaviors until he grows more comfortable. Kids get a good lesson in exploring identity and trying at a smarter pace, and not just once, to develop skills. Nicely done.
Very nice history of the real Merlin. Reader is very glad he is adopted, and kids learn about how great pet adoption is, how it can bring them a special friend. Author introduces this information very clearly, and kids can relate and get inspired. Merlin climbs to higher understanding and self-acceptance. A very sweet story; we can tell how much the author loves this cat.'
“Judge, 22nd Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards.”
'Structure, Organization, and Pacing: 5 Spelling, Punctuation, and Grammar: 5 Production Quality and Cover Design: 4 Plot and Story Appeal: 5 Character Appeal and Development: 5 Voice and Writing Style: 5 (Books are evaluated on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 meaning “needs improvement” and 5 meaning “outstanding”.)
'Schlatter and Patten’s delightful Merlin combines whimsical illustrations and playful rhymes to carry a positive message of hope and identity. The title character, Merlin, is an adopted cat who believes he’s a dog. But through the tutelage of his adopted sibling cat Pudge, Merlin learns to be the cat he was meant to be.
The message behind Merlin’s story is that we can all become who we were meant to be, despite our circumstances. Merlin was raised by dogs who made fun of his attempts to be a dog himself, but the love he was given after his adoption helped him to realize and achieve his identity as a cat.
Schlatter’s rhyming text leads us gently through Merlin’s discoveries, and Patten’s illustrations blend with the text, reflecting both the characters’ goofy fun and the depth of the theme.
The book has an added benefit in that a portion of the proceeds go toward animal rescue and adoption, a cause close to Schlatter’s heart.'