Mia and Nattie:
One Great Team!
But Mia thought Nattie was perfect.
On a visit to her grandma’s farm, eight-year-old Mia discovers a newborn, orphaned lamb outside in the cold and takes her to the laundry room, naming her Nattie. As she tries to nurse the lamb back to health, Mia discovers that Nattie is different from the other lambs and struggles to fit in with them like Mia does with other kids her age.
When her grandmother says she will sell Nattie to a neighbor, Mia must come up with a plan to keep her friend around — one that will show the family just how special Nattie truly is.
Mia and Nattie: One Great Team! by Marlene M. Bell is a cute story with adorable illustrations by Grace Sandford. If you were to judge this book by its cover, your assessment would probably be correct. This is a quality hardcover children’s book with crisp lines, bright colors, and beautiful binding. (I would love to buy the endpapers as wrapping paper or in journal form.)
The fact that this story is based on true life makes it even more charming. There is nothing more heartwarming than a story of a child creating a bond with an innocent creature. The story of Mia and Nattie is like a viral video from The Dodo where a kind human sees past an animal’s imperfections and sees the beautiful spirit within.
When I read this book to my 7-year-old, the plot and the cute pictures immediately pulled him in. He asked why Nattie was alone and couldn’t fathom why the grandmother didn’t want to keep the little lamb inside the house. He really liked how Nattie’s short and straight little horn made her look like a unicorn. He was worried about her wellbeing but was very happy with the ending, as was I.
Unlike other children’s books, this one goes beyond looking pretty and teaches valuable lessons without patronizing kids. Bell’s writing style is clean and conveyed nicely by way of font choice and page layout. I think that the recommended audience of kindergarten through third grade is spot on. I recommend this book to anyone with children in their lives. In a school or childcare setting, this book is a great lesson on embracing differences and deserves a prime spot on every bookshelf.
Based on true events from the Bell’s ranch, Marlene offers the first of her children’s picture books, Mia and Nattie: One Great Team! It’s a touching story of compassion and love between a little girl and her lamb. Marlene is also the author of the award-winning Annalisse international mystery series, with the third book, Calico Raven to be released in 2021.
Marlene shares her life with her husband and dreadfully spoiled horned Dorset sheep: a large Maremma guard dog named Tia, and cats, Hollywood, Leo, and Squeaks. The cats believe they rule the household—and do.
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