“Sandy the Service Dog: Lost in a Hurricane” by Michelle M. Deyarmin

“Sandy the Service Dog: Lost in a Hurricane” by Michelle M. Deyarmin 683 1024 Reader Views Kids

Sandy the Service Dog: Lost in a Hurricane

Michelle M. Deyarmin
Independently Published (2019)
ISBN: 978-0578565194
Reviewed by Diana Coyle for Reader Views (05/2024)

When Shelby and her family find out that a dangerous hurricane is about to make landfall in Homestead, Florida, Kelly, Shelby’s mom, starts preparing the family for evacuation if necessary in “Sandy the Service Dog: Lost in a Hurricane” (The Adventures of Sandy the Service Dog) by Michelle M. Deyarmin. They all hope they won’t have to leave their home, but they’d rather be ready than caught off guard.

Shelby packs her stuff, including all the items her service dog, Sandy, will need so they can leave on a moment’s notice. As predicted, Hurricane Jude slams into Homestead, and Shelby and her family must leave as soon as possible. They team up with their next-door neighbor and they all jump in the neighbor’s boat to get to safety. Unfortunately, a huge wave hits the boat and Luke, Shelby’s four-year-old brother, is tossed from it. Sandy immediately jumps into the water to save him.

When they safely get Luke back into the boat, another huge wave hits, and Sandy gets pulled away by the strong current. Shelby is devastated because Sandy is her epilepsy service dog, and she needs her by her side in case she has a seizure. To no avail, no matter how many attempts are made, Sandy is drawn too far away by the current. Does Sandy get rescued eventually? Will she ever get back to Shelby and her family?

This was such a heartwarming story for young readers (8-12) and even though it was written for their ages in mind, I as an adult, truly enjoyed reading it. I loved the closeness Shelby and Sandy had and you could immediately see why they made such a great service dog team together. They do everything together and love each other immensely. When the threat of Hurricane Jude was mentioned in the story, I found myself worrying for the entire family, including Sandy.

Evacuations in flooded areas are never an easy task and I feared that having to carry Sandy might pose a problem. When she got separated from them, my heart sank because so many bad scenarios played throughout my mind. The author did a wonderful job detailing the story and made me feel as if I was right next to the family trying to float to safety, too. My heart was pounding in my chest, and I felt the scenario was so lifelike, I wanted to try to reach for Sandy in the water myself.

The black and white illustrations provided by Jess Burhans are adorable and only enhance the story, especially from Sandy’s point of view. These pictures made me feel as if I was in the story right along with Sandy and the other characters. Children and adults will enjoy looking at these illustrations as they turn the pages.

I loved this story for a few reasons, but one that particularly stood out to me was Ms. Deyarmin wrote the story from Sandy, the service dog’s point of view, which made this even more of a joy to read because it was from a unique perspective right from the very first page. I enjoyed seeing things through Sandy’s eyes and I felt this provided readers a fresh and different viewpoint while they followed along with Sandy’s telling of the story.

An interesting fact I discovered was that this is the author’s very first published book and I commend her on writing on such serious topics as not only a severe hurricane hitting land and all the ramifications involved thereafter, but also how Sandy, Shelby’s service dog, helps her maintain her epilepsy. Both things are serious topics, and I felt the author did a wonderful job portraying the weightiness while not bogging down the entire story with negative or heavy vibes throughout. I’m thrilled to have found out that this is book one of a three-part series under The Adventures of Sandy the Service Dog title.

Overall, I really enjoyed reading this story as an adult, and feel that young readers will as well. This is a perfect chapter book to have them read themselves, or even have it read to them maybe during reading time at home or in a school environment. I highly recommend it and look forward to the other two books in the series. Well done, Ms. Deyarmin!  

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