Book Reviews


All Things Dog Blog by guest blogger, Kristine Tonks of Rescued Insanity

I don’t take the time to read children’s books very often. When I heard about Darby’s Story: The Life of an Adopted Dog by Martha Steward, I jumped at the opportunity. Any book starring a sweet rescue dog is automatically on my reading list. I doubt anyone could look at the cover of this book without falling in love. This isn’t a typical boy-meets-dog story. After all, neither Darby the husky mix, nor Drew the young child, are quite conventional. The book begins with the author and her son, Drew, attending an adoption event at a local pet store. Instead of rushing toward the energetic puppies, the two think carefully about the kind of dog who will best fit their lifestyle. Once they spot quiet Darby, relaxing in his crate, they take the time to get to know him first before making the big decision to bring him home. This way they ensured that not only would they be happy with Darby, but he would be equally happy with them. It’s an important message for all who are thinking of owning a dog.The rest of the book goes on to illustrate the funny and interesting ways in which a dog added to the life of Drew and his mother.  As the boy grew up, Darby was there to keep him entertained. Sometimes it seemed Darby was more of a sibling than a pet. The two even competed for prime seating in the car. Throughout the story, the small family went through many changes. They moved to a farm and adopted several other animals. Each one, especially the cat, provided a new challenge for Darby. I enjoyed Steward’s insertion of her guesses at what could be on his mind. Like many dog owners, I often do the same.

By the end of the tale, I was on the verge of tears. As we all know, the life of a dog is much too short. They could live for centuries and it wouldn’t be long enough. The author dealt with the last few years of Darby’s contented life with delicacy. Steward even included valuable notes on helping children say goodbye to a beloved friend. There was sadness, of course, but also joy for the memories they shared. In my opinion, Darby’s Story is the perfect bed-time story book. While younger children may have a difficult time grasping some of the concepts, I think all would enjoy snuggling down to hear about Darby’s fun adventures with his multi-species family. I know the photo of the large dog sleeping with the baby goat will give me pleasant dreams for many nights to come.


“Darby’s Story: The Life of an Adopted Dog” Book Review

January 27, 2011 by Paris and John  
Filed under Books, Reviews

DogTipper Book Review: When Martha Steward, a single mother, and her 5-year-old son, Drew, decided to add a dog to their family, they were initially overwhelmed by the large number of  rescue dogs from which to choose.  They considered many canines, spending time with each one. Eventually, they spotted a large Husky mix lying quietly in his kennel. His name was Darby and was judged to be about one year old. After a short time visiting with Darby, they knew they had found their special dog. Thus began a 15-year relationship as Darby became a beloved member of the family.

Although the book is simply written and is presented as large, colorful paperback, its content can be appreciated by adults as well as children. And, that was the author’s intention in writing the book:

“My mission is to help…animal rescue organizations by providing Darby’s Story for financial support and to draw awareness to animals needing forever homes.”

In that spirit, she intends Darby’s Story to be more than a good read (which it is) but also a learning aid to educate the public about the plight of  shelter dogs and the tremendous potential each of them has to become beloved pets. Darby’s heartwarming story captures the incredibly rich experience of having a dog as part of the family.

Martha Steward plans three more books based on her personal experiences with adopted pets. The next in the series, Bangle Bears: the Tale of a Tailless Cat ( her adopted Manx) will be released in Spring, 2011.

For More Information:

Product Disclosure: We received one or more of the products mentioned above for free. We were not compensated for our review. We only recommend products or services we use personally and believe will be good for our readers.


Midwest Book Review May 2010
"Darby's Story" is the tale of an adopted dog, called a rescue dog, named Darby. His family spends 15 happy years with him after adoption and his history is heartwarming and inspirational. The story of Darby may increase a compassionate outlook for animals in need of a permanent home. There are certainly many rewards for both participants and rescue animals. Vibrant color photos of Darby spice up the pages of anecdotes about Darby. The story ends with a particularly moving account of Darby's passing after suffering with cancer. "Darby's presence is still in the house. I am not a firm believer in ghosts; however I do believe in the spirit. When you look into the eyes of a pet, there is a personality, a character, and a spirit. You see, God makes all things, and I do believe each pet has his own gift to share with us. When a pet passes away, the spirit goes back to God. Animals know who God is. They are not separated from God, and they did not fall from God's grace. They are in tune and know a sense of peace that we still struggle to find. (pp.27-27)." "Darby's Story" was written by his adoptive family mother, but the reading level of this gentle chapter book is easily accessible for children age 10 and up. "Darby's Story" touches hearts of all ages.
COPYRIGHT 2010 Midwest Book Review
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2010 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.
****************************************************************************** Gaining in popularity as an educational tool for uncertain adopters, this short book tells the heartwarming story of Darby, an unwanted, sheltered, rescued, and ultimately adopted dog, who brought great joy and happiness to his adoptive family.
Given its format, this book is an excellent children's introduction to the issues, challenges, yet clearly underscoring the rewards of compassion through animal adoption, while maintaining a positive, cheerful message.
From Chris Holmes DVM Wasson Memorial Vet Clinic

 I must say that reading Martha Steward's "Darby's Story" was better than I anticipated.  I hear stories every single day about the wonderful personalities of people's rescued dog, how smart they are, how loving they are...As a veterinarian I KNOW how rewarding it is to adopt and save the life of a homeless dog.  They simply become loved family members instead of ending up on Death Row due to pet overpopulation.  Everyone has a story about why they think their dog must be smarter or somehow better than the average dog. 

Martha's story stands out though, because she writes about the final days of Darby's life.  This is something that is hard for all of us and I think she does an excellent job taking the reader through the entire emotional process.  This is well worth reading to children, or adults, that are about to go through that rough emotional time losing their best friend.
Chris Holmes, DVM
Wasson Memorial Veterinary Clinic, partner
Rescue work with in Mexico, as well as numerous other local rescue groups


This inspiring book of Darby's life shows just how bringing a rescue pet into your life can entertain and enrich. Darby was an incredibly loved family member. In an industry where we see so many devasting outcomes, do what we do.
Children and adults of alll ages should hear/read this story, it inspires caring and compassion for all living creatures.
Denise Johnson, Director, Lake County Animal Care and Control, California


An inspiration to all, February 18, 2010
Teacher "Ashley Phipps"
This review is from: Darby's Story: The Life of an Adopted Dog (Paperback)

I'm 22 years old, and it seems like everywhere I look, things take a negative spin.. If you see animals in print, for the most part, it's a PETA commercial and you see nothing but abused, neglected animals. With all the wars and negative things happening in the world, it's so refreshing to read a positive story. Don't be put off by the fact that the cover doesn't scream adventure, this book pulled me in from page one. I felt like I was part of the family, witnessing the story as it unfolded. A great book that I'd recommend to anyone old enough to read or be read to.

Read the Lake County News book review download the link below
Bangles Bears PrePublished Book Review 
Media Recording on the Air
Darby's Story has been a featured on AIR WAVES: airing in March 2010 with Don McCauley hosting the Children's Author Radio show. A internet radio program.

Saving and Trust Hosted by Debbie Bielenberg on KPFZ 88.1FM. A radio program providing postive informative resources in Lake County, California. A Lake County Community Radio, Aired March 2010 and November 2009. 

Traveling the world visit
Read the book review on this British Blog site

Martha Steward,
Mar 7, 2010, 7:29 AM