Please tell me what you think! I want to know how much you loved my story! I hope you loved it lots, but Arabella and me will listen to all your comments, compliments and criticisms. So please send in your reviews once you’ve read the book, and say what you think about the illustrations, too! (I think Andreea’s a genius) Oh, and the translation, because Diana’s waiting to hear from you.
Iris Stoicescu, aged 10, Ireland:
I personally think Floss the Lost Puppy is a great book! I like the illustrations a lot and I would definitely recommend it to all of my friends! I loved the book so much I’ll give it five stars out of five. Six out of five if I could.
Floss has now joined the gang of my favorite books: Jaqueline Wilson’s Double Act and Clean Break, David Walliams’ Gangsta Granny and The Boy in the Dress, and Franklin Peirce’s Marele Nate (I read this in Romanian).
I do like Thea and Tudor. They are both a little bit like me. I love the way you put Tudor as an annoying sibling. I have a brother as well and sometimes he is quite annoying so I can relate to what Thea is going through. I also have allergies (lots) like Tudor. For years I was not allowed to even pet cats or dogs. This is why we got budgies and not dogs.
The setting is wonderful. I’ve never been to Transylvania in the winter, nor summer, but my mother told me all about it. I wish I could go there sometime. I will go there one day in winter, my mother promises.
When Tudor and Thea lost Floss, I felt sad. Especially since he has been gone for three weeks! I can’t imagine if I lost my two budgies for three weeks. I would go bonkers! (I’ll admit I nearly cried during that part). (I also don’t believe parrots eat cats, speaking about birds.)
I found it quite helpful to have a book in TWO languages. I learned new words like ‘chicotesc’ (laugh) and ‘căpătat’ (get, earn, acquire) and many more. I’m not so good at speaking Romanian because I have lived in Ireland since I was less than a year old.
I think Floss the Lost Puppy is for all ages, weather you’re big or small, short or tall. I think it is for girls and boys as well. And if you want your child to read books, start with this one (they’ll love it!).
Alex Tatulescu, Essex (UK)
Alex is 10 and was born in London to Romanian parents. He lives in Essex with his mum and four siblings, and dreams of mountains and Transylvania.
In case the image isn’t quite clear enough: “Dear Arabella, I thought the story was happy and sad and intense. The time I’d read it made my day. I got excited and sad when they had lost Floss. By the time I’d read the first paragraph I knew it would be a great story. When it came to the end I asked myself ‘Will she write any other stories? Or maybe even a part two!’ I hope you do and from this day onwards I will be waiting for it. So please do make other kids’ stories. But what I’d really like to say is that you inspired me and keep on writing more children books. Nothing was wrong with it (from my opinion) and I’d say its safe to publish. Lots of love from Alexandru xxx”
Iulia Benze, London
Floss, The Lost Puppy made me think of The Little Match Girl, Christian Andersen’s story, but with a happy ending.
I absolutely loved the story; it was so educational and emotional. It had all the characters it needed and they all came with their valid points of view.
My favorite character was Floss – I empathized with him and with Tudor as well, the allergic guilt annoyingly teasing him. The ending was very touching and it made me cry. Overwhelmingly it brought back memories of animals in distress. I read it on a stormy dark Sunday morning and after that I immediately went out and started searching for homeless dogs to feed and to soothe. I found 5, managed to help 3 – the ones who didn’t run away from me.
Even though I didn’t identify much with the little girl, Thea, her fear reactions towards dogs and her thinking were plausible. I guess, deep down inside I was wishing it wasn’t true. I loved her journey in that magical rural mountainous place: from being afraid of dogs to absolutely loving them. She became a brave little girl, sacrificing her own comfort and selfishness. The entire family was very generous, opening their home and each member of this unit (Thea, the father, Tudor, the grandma) sacrificed something in one way or another. I think it is a very important lesson to learn: Generosity, Friendship and Conquering Your Fear (any fear), to go towards your fear and then, like in this case, it changes into Love. Something that many times we forget… Definitely, it is good reminder. This story contains a deep challenging lesson, making the narration not only for children, but also for adults. Get Out Of Your Box!
Death theme, or at least the impression of it, wasn’t avoided. It makes the story urgent, there is a stake and children need to know that. All Walter Disney stories are like that and because of that, they are unforgettable experiences and stories.
Throughout the story, I smiled at the Floss’s playfulness, I got scared and genuinely worried when he disappeared, I was happy when… and started crying at the end when…[edited for spoilers!]
I also believe Floss The Lost Puppy is extremely practical and it should be the beginning of a series which humanizes stray animals, creating heartfelt stories, educating people to be more compassionate towards nature and fellow creatures sharing their environment.
In Romanian schools, Floss The Lost Puppy would be an amazing life lesson, plus as bonus children get to learn English! It’s a great a way to learn English, and take me as a testifier: we do need more English Literature access and more modern ways of learning English. Also, coming from a theatre practitioner and theoretician, what better way to teach than having an amazing story, where children can fall in love with the characters, identify with them and get engaged? It works, that’s how we create our own theatre shows. It’s fascinating and soul warming to see how babies, B-A-B-I-E-S, who can’t walk, can’t speak, get the message and the urgency of the situation and they won’t calm down till the situation gets straightened. I would recommend it to all ages and to schools as part of their educational system.
Five***** stars x 2 and more! That’s because of the times we are living in, it portrayed very very well what’s happening around us and it made me get out and find that creature in distress and try and help it! It’s a must-read for every child and adult! Courage to change!
Mary Estes, Bucharest
I can’t recommend this book enough! It’s a children’s book, yes, but it’s a universal story that connects us all… people and animals alike!
Irina Demirgian, 12, Ontario (Canada)
The picture you created was incredibly vivid and I was so moved. There are not many things that make me cry, but this story was an emotional rollercoaster. I think having the two languages was amazing and it will sure help a lot of people struggling to learn the languages. I would recommend this book to children from the age of 7 to 10, no matter the gender! I am going to give this book **** stars.
Brilliant book. I would definitely recommend Floss the Lost Puppy as a fantastic lesson for any child, young and old, that one should lead his life by their compassion not by their fears.
I love bilingual books. I found them extremely helpful in the education of children who have to relocate from their country. I would strongly recommend a Romanian-English book to any Romanian child that came to live in an English speaking country and to any English child that lives in Romania.
I think both girls and boys would love this book. The siblings seem to have great fun and they could inspire brothers and sisters to have fun and be compassionate as well. Parents and grandparents will find it very useful in understanding their children’s / grandchildren’s way of thinking and expressing their emotions.
Thea Thimble is absolutely the most brave ten years old girl. As a little girl I had red hair and hazel eyes and I was afraid of dogs. Thea is a great role model for my young self and any little girl fighting her own fears.
I was very impressed about how Thea gets over her biggest fear, that of dogs, and shows compassion to the stray dog. The lesson Thea offers us is fantastic: nothing should stop us from being caring and compassionate and understanding towards others’ needs, not even our greatest fears. Even if Granny Dido does a great job, I think Thea is missing her mum and she relates somehow differently with Floss, she understands that he can’t be alone out there without proper care. Thea reaches a higher level of understanding life itself when she realises that Floss might be afraid also, that a dog that appears scary might be scared himself.
I was amused to see how Thea pleads Floss’s cause into the house, a ten year old girl that is herself very scared of dogs. I was feeling very proud of Thea when she admits she’s still nervous around dogs but her caring for Floss becomes greater than her fears.
Thea becomes very responsible towards Floss and in their first meeting with Caradog, another bigger dog, she’s very protective and careful to understand from Mr. Gethin if Floss would be safe in the presence of Caradog.
Thea teaches us also about giving up what you love for a better purpose. Her brother’s health is affected by the dog so Floss must go. It’s not easy to let go what you love but Thea is very brave.
I had a perfect image of this small Romanian village. Hay was becoming very familiar with every page of the book. I think visiting Hay would be a fantastic experience for any family.
Simona Criste, Founder at Asociatia Dare to Dream, Cluj
I love reading children’s books and discover new and exciting characters. I read this book in a heartbeat and fell in love with the Thimble family, especially with Thea and Tudor. My only complaint is that I want more. I feel like I want to know more about the characters, more about the grandmother. For a children’s book, I think the length is ok, but I see the potential to use this story as just a chapter from a book (for middle grade and young adults) and develop it into a novel with complex characters.
Although the main character was Thea, I was very fond of Tudor. Maybe because he loved the puppy even though it made him sick. I think the interaction between Thea and Tudor is very interesting because you can see more of their personalities shine. They are both small children and act like equals so I can see an authentic bond between them.
I liked the setting of the book and I think it will appeal a lot to children because it provides an alternative for those that are raised in cities and don’t have grandparents to visit. When I read books I usually imagine every little detail and it was not hard with this book to create the village and the house in my mind.
The story was entertaining and I was very much absorbed into the children’s suffering when Floss went missing, but I would have personally preferred a much bigger conflict. Somehow, because the book created a good atmosphere, I liked the family a lot, I liked the setting, I got the feeling that it will all be ok in the end and this never got me to a really high point in the “conflict”. But I am aware of the subjectivity of my perspective and I think perhaps children will not be so aware of this issue.
It was interesting to read the book in a bilingual version and I think it would be very useful for both children and adults who want to start reading in English. And it was fun to learn the meaning of some Welsh words.
I think this book is perfect for children that are 7 years + and I think it’s a great story if you want to teach empathy, friendship and love for animals.
I would rate the book with 4 stars.
Robbie Melinte, aged 6, Galati (Romania)
[Robbie’s mum asked him questions and wrote down his answers after Robbie had read the book.]
The character I loved the most was the dog named Floss, he was so cute! I felt really sad when Tudor was allergic to Floss. I really understood Thea the best when it was her birthday and her wish was for her brother to be allergic to pollen and not to Floss. I felt most like Thea when she was scared of Floss at first but then started to love him, this has happened to me lots of times too with stray dogs that turn up at our house. I felt really sad and wanted to cry when Floss had to leave… The book was really nice and made me feel happy. I would like to go to the mountains and build a snowman. I think that children of my age and much older children would like it, girls and boys. I give it 5 stars but would like to give it 25!
Come what may, there is hope, not only for us, the readers, but also for humanity!
I enjoyed reading the story of Floss, the lucky dog that got a second chance in life, mostly because of the subtle way through which the author teaches children (and grown-ups as well) three lessons.
Firstly, to feel empathy towards all living beings, since nowadays people hardly ever notice anything else but themselves, let alone animals.
Secondly, to overcome fears – the little girl let cynophobia rule her life for too long, until she got the right challenge to try to get rid of her anxiety and search within herself, only to discover how much love she really had for dogs.
Last but not least, the story teaches us the lesson of being able to give up something we love, in order to make other people happy. This never remains unrewarded by God, because usually in life, one gets what one gives; so in the end, the little girl receives a… present*.
It’s a beautifully written book, packed with great details, in which the author uses accessible language, suitable for all ages, from young to old; also, being written in two languages, it has the advantage of making children become curious about English and maybe persuade them to start learning it.
Hence, ‘less is more’ proves once again that simplicity is the ultimate form of sophistication, that mere words touch hearts – and that, for sure, is something that every book should be about.
I would definitely recommend the book to everyone, because it is an inspiring heartwarming story.
[* Ed: I changed this sentence to avoid a spoiler…]
Brenda Stefanescu, 14
A beautiful story accessible to young readers and their parents, a story about children-animals relationships, about love and compassion, about the positive impact that companion animals have on kids. The proper names are the result of a unique, unexpected and surprising combination of British and Romanian ones. The way the characters are portrayed reveal the writer’s being familiar with both countries and peoples.
I’m sure children reading the book will dream of visiting the place up in the mountains where Thea and her brothers and cats get friends with Floss the dog. And maybe one day soon we will also watch a movie after the book. A genuine Carpathian doggie would do a great Floss of Transylvania.
I definitely recommend the book to all children, younger or older (I’m 14 and I didn’t find it boring at all), English or Romanian speakers and I give it 5 brilliant stars.
Julie Whyman, director, Stefanius, Harrogate (England)
Gabriela Dirloman, Brasov
Reading your book Floss the lost puppy, you reminded me so much of Rex – a dog which was my best friend while I was spending my holidays at my grandparents.
The book is set in a village like Magura which I was very lucky to visit while I was doing my research with the Japanese teachers in 2009, 2010 and 2016 and where, I had the chance to meet Arabella and the people from there, like Mrs. Preda and Cotinghiu family. You brilliantly succeeded to depict the characters and the life of a place where some might think that nothing happens… where time seems to stop…and where the spirit of a family and traditions like Christmas are still alive.
For me, Thea is a very sensitive and caring person, who loves cats the most, but who will always love and help other animals as well… Maybe Thea is also Arabella when she was a child?
The way you tell the story is very soft and subtle. It is an easy way to read not only for children but also for adults… as we will never stop having the heart of a child inside us.
You described the winter so accurate that you made me feel I was there… and the fact that the story has a happy ending, after a bit of suspense, makes the story of Floss more real.
I do thank you for touching my soul with the story of Floss, and for reminding me to be more human!
Isabella Forder, 8, London
I like this book because the characters are fun. Tudor was my favourite. At first they think he is allergic to dogs, but is he? The whole book was written from a girl’s point of view, and the author really captured how a girl would really feel if her annoying brother knew something which she didn’t. I really liked the diary format because you really get to know Thea, her feelings and her family. I liked Mr Gethin, and Thea does too – she describes him in a nice way. He is also a dog owner and a dog trainer. I have visited Transylvania and I have met the real dogs and cats mentioned in the book, including Floss himself. The book describes the characters and the setting exactly how I remember it!
Saffi Forder, 10, London
I think this book suits all age groups. My favourite character was Mr Gethin because he is an expert on dogs. I love dogs myself. I have got two dogs. I did not really like the main character Thea because she was a bit OTT – she went from hating dogs to loving dogs. I liked Tudor because he is a dog lover. I don’t like the name Floss for a dog. It sounds too girly. I really liked the way the book was written – it is one of those stories that gets you really emotionally involved. The story made me happy and sad at different times. I loved the part when the dog comes into the house and jumps on the sofa. I felt very sorry for Floss when he had clumps of ice on his face. The setting of the book is very well described; how cold it gets. The ending was very good – it was unexpected, a good surprise.
[I must be honest: Issy and Saffi are Arabella’s great-nieces; but they are genuine bookworms, as you can see from the photos, and she had no input to their reviews.]
Delia Bogdan, Brasov
[Delia has written her review in English and Romanian – scroll down for the Romanian version.]
Arabella McIntyre-Brown’s latest book delights us with its easy reading and its candor by which the feelings of little Thea and the adventures of Floss – a stray dog in the winter, in a Romanian mountain village – are described.
Written as a diary kept by Thea, the events are shared with the reader, chronologically, from the day Floss entered their life. Little Thea, knowing she was writing for children of her age, describes succinctly the village, its surroundings, the members of her family, their way of life – and of course everything is filtered through her thoughts and feelings.
In today’s life uproar, especially the urban life, what pupil would not like to spend her childhood in a mountain village, where life is peaceful, somewhere like the place they spend their summers visiting their grandparents or relatives? How would it be to live there the whole year, to go to school there? The book answers these questions, and the little ones reading it can easily picture themselves living a life such as Thea’s.
The appearance of a stray dog in the courtyard starts an emotional tumult that triggers all sort of happenings which eventually end well, and from which Thea learns a lot about herself, about dogs, which used to frighten her, and about England.
It is easy to read, accessible to children the same age as Thea and Tudor, who can easily imagine themselves in their place – so the story will captivate them.
We were all children and many of us like animals, probably we all wished for a puppy or a kitten at that age. Maybe life with a pet, full of surprises, is familiar to us, so we end up smiling while reading about how naughty Floss was; we are worried when Thea worries about her little brother or about Floss and we also understand how hard a decision she has to take. Finally we can relate to the happiness of the family when they came up with a solution, helped by their Welsh neighbour, and the happy ending not only for them, but also to some good-hearted English children.
Communication is now easier, and via Internet, England seems next door. Floss creates a connecting bridge between children in Romania and England, which share a common goal: to offer a better life to a cute little stray dog. What a valuable life lesson!?
The fresh idea to create the book in a bilingual version makes it attractive for those who wish to improve their English language skills. This is another connecting bridge between the two cultures – British and Romanian.
It is a book I dearly recommend to children of Thea’s age (10 yrs) or younger . I imagine that this is a book which can be useful to English teachers in primary school, and to pupils passionate about English language.
Ultima apariție a Arabellei McIntyre Brown ne încântă prin simplitatea limbajului și candoarea cu care sunt descrise trăirile și micuței Thea și aventurile lui Floss, un cățeluș pribeag, iarna, într-un sat de munte din România.
Scrisă ca o înșiruire de scrisorele sau asemenea unui jurnal ținut de Thea, cititorului îi sunt împărtășite cronologic întâmplările petrecute de la apariția lui Floss în viața familiei. Micuța, știind că trebuie să se prezinte celor de seama ei care-i vor citi rândurile, ne descrie succint satul, cu împrejurimile, pe membri familiei și modul lor de viață, desigur trecând totul prin prisma impresiilor și trăirilor ei.
În tumultul vieții cotidiene, mai ales al celei urbane, ce școlar nu și-ar dori să copilărească într-un sat de munte unde viața decurge ușor, ca satul în care poate că merge vara, la bunici sau rude, în vacanțe scurte? Cum ar fi să stai acolo tot anul, să mergi acolo la școală? Ei bine, cartea răspunde acestor întrebări și micuții își pot imagina și pot visa cu ușurință la o viață ca cea a Theei.
Apariția unui cățeluș pribeag în curtea casei declanșează un tumult de emoții și atrage după sine o seamă de evenimente care, până la urmă, se termină cu bine, din care Thea învață o mulțime de lucruri despre ea, despre cățeii, care până deunăzi o înspăimântau, și despre Anglia.
Lectura este ușoară, plăcută și accesibilă publicului țintă, și anume copiilor de vârsta Theei, care se pot transpune cu ușurință în locul ei, astfel lectura reușind să-i captiveze.
Toți am fost copiii și probabil că tuturor ne plac animalele, probabil toți ne-am dorit sau chiar am avut pisicuțe sau cățeluși pe când eram copii, și poate că surprizele oferite de viața alături de animale de companie, nu ne sunt străine, așa că ne surprindem zâmbind, când citim despre poznele lui Floss, suntem neliniștiți când Thea e îngrijorată pentru frățiorul ei sau pentru Floss și înțelegem cât de grea este decizia ce trebuie s-o ia, ca până la urmă, să ne bucurăm alături de întreaga familie de soluția găsită de ei, cu ajutorul vecinului englez, stabilit în sat, și de deznodământul fericit nu doar pentru ei, ci și pentru niște copii englezi inimoși, de vârsta lor.
Lumea comunică din ce în ce mai ușor, iar prin intermediul Internetului, Anglia e parcă la un pas distanță. Floss creează o punte de legătură între copii din România și Anglia, copii care au în comun dorința de a oferi o viață mai bună unui cățeluș pribeag. Ce lecție de viață poate fi mai valoroasă decât aceasta?
Inedită este ideea autoarei de a crea cartea în ediție bilingvă, fapt ce o face atrăgătoare și din punct de vedere didactic, pentru cei care doresc să-și îmbunătățească sau să-și verifice cunoștințele de limbă engleză. Puntea de legătură între cele două culturi – britanică și românească – se realizează și pe acest plan.
Este o carte pentru copii ce o recomand cu căldură, atât celor de vârsta Theei, cât și celor mai mici decât ea (desigur, citită de către părinți), o carte ce-o văd chiar folosită de către profesori de limbă engleză din ciclul primar și elevilor pasionați de limba engleză.