Anna Belle Cook and The Boy Who Talked to Dogs by Bill Schweitzer features characters from the author's engrossing Doves in a Tempest: The Valley of Horror. This is a wonderfully crafted book for kids and one that transports them into a fantasy world where dogs can talk — and kids will love the dogs in this book, starting from Sam. The setting is in Austin, Texas in 1958. Bobby is a six-year-old boy who grew up with a brain impairment that makes speech difficult for him. He learns to talk to dogs. So, when Anna Belle Cook and her friends come into his life, everything changes. It becomes colorful and exciting as they set out on different adventures in a world where dogs can also speak.
The journey of Bobby who couldn't just talk and who has difficulty understanding is incredible. In these tales, the author exalts the power of compassion and empathy, exemplified by Anna Belle Cook and her friends. The characters are wonderfully written and Anna Belle is the feisty kind who makes a huge difference in the pack. Bobby feels accepted and his healing happens through a series of adventures through which his other gifts come to maturity — from solving a mystery to learning to talk to humans. The story is delivered in language that is accessible to children, filled with emotionally rich scenes, and features characters that are memorable. The author skillfully uses anthropomorphism to bring the fantasy world to life. Children will understand the importance of empathy and the power of acceptance of differences in dealing with others. While this is a fantasy tale for Children, it is permeated with humanity and realism and dog lovers will enjoy it as children looking for a delightful reading adventure.