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Book Summaries


By Shirley Terrill Holdman

This series is a true story about two dogs who started a TV program and their canine friends. The story line follows the experiences of the dogs, and is written through the voices of the dogs. Each book increases in challenging topics as you will see in the outline below. The lessons are taught by Owen, an American Pit Bull, to Giggles, a bichon frise, and his friends. The books have different illustrators and different art mediums. This is to show the reader contrasting styles, but still keeping the dogs consistent to their real life form. Each book contains New England history, and in the back of each book is "Owen's Dictionary" containing words used in that specific book and "Giggles' Big Question."

Guidebook of Topics to the Adventures of Giggles and Owen series

Illustrator: Wendy L. Wright

The teachers and parents requested this Guide Book to help them quickly find the different topics discussed in the five books like anti-bullying, the passing of a friend and self-esteem. This booklet outlines each of the five books and contains alphabetical outline of topics. This guide may be purchased only through Billerica Adventure Series Corp. for $5.00.

Art Medium: Water Colors

Adventure One:  Off to a Pawsitive Experience

Illustrator: Carol Riecks Goss

Story Line: This first book is for ages 4-6. Giggles and Owen go to the Memorial Day parade, and Owen tells Giggles to goes to Puppy Kindergarten. Slopper gets away from his family. After her training, Giggles thinks they should start a TV program, as she would be a wonderful actress.

Owen's Lessons: As we start this series, Owen is a six-year-old American Pit Bull Terrier with a Bichon Frise pup as a friend. We can ask "How can a 65 pound Pit Bull be with a 3 pound pup?" Owen shows Giggles the importance of having good friends with good choices who can guide and protect us, and how some dogs need training, like Slopper. He also points out what dogs should not eat, and the importance of self discipline. In Adventure Five the reader will find out the metaphor of Entering Billerica as found on the cover illustration.

History: In the 1700's farm animals were on Town Commons all over New England.

Art Medium: Water Colors

Adventure Two:  Pawsistence Pays Off

Illustrator: Wendy L. Wright

Story Line: This book is for ages 5-7. It tells how to start your own TV program. Giggles and Owen go to the TV station and start their program Canine Capers.

Their first recording was done on the agility training field in Carlisle, Mass.

Owen's Lessons: Giggles has to learn the importance of believing in her goals, and that every goal takes work, even when Stopper is saying it can't be done.

Giggles also learns about humility as she starts to work on the TV training. At the agility field while filming, Giggles is frightened when she finds herself at the top of the A-Frame. Owen, as a gentle friend, talks her down, and with confidence, she runs the A-Frame again, teasing Owen.

History: The mill girls came from all over New England to work in the mills.

Art Medium: Designer's Gauche (Form of water color)

Adventure Three:  Unlimited Pawsibilities

Illustrator: Marjorie M. Leeds

Story Line: This book is for ages 6-8, and starts the writing in chapters. At the start of this book we find Giggles and Owen locked in an editing room. Having started their TV show, they record a pet fair. Owen tells Giggles how she could become a national certified therapy dog and read with the children in schools and libraries. Slopper has gone to canine school.

Owen's Lessons: In December at the TV station Owen tells Giggles, "You are only two-years-old with unlimited 'pawtential' ....You never can tell how your dreams will inspire others, Giggles, but all dreams need to start with trying."

History: The Middlesex Canal was built from Boston to Lowell, Massachusetts - there is a map in the back of this book.

Art Medium: Colored pencils

Adventure Four:  Challenges are Oppawtunities

Illustrator: Jay Mooers

Story Line: For ages 7-9.  This chapter book should be read one chapter at a time and then discussed. Giggles goes for exams to become a registered therapy dog and fails. Slopper talks about his adoption. The dogs are asked to be in the big September Yankee Doodle Parade by the TV station. Slopper gets a nickname: Lucky, and he finds a girlfriend: Dallas, a Dalmatian.

Owen's Lessons: Owen and Slopper help Giggles overcome her embarrassment and discouragement. Giggles learn how difficult it is to cover up mistakes after she runs through some black paint. Owen helps Slopper see his individuality after he tells Owen that he was adopted and feels different from his other friends. Owen told Slopper "Always remember, Slop, that we can't pretend to be someone or something we're not. Just do your best, and you will be grrrrreat" Giggles is bullied, and Owen tells her how to handle this. Giggles tells Owen what she thinks of her self-image when he mentions some pink on her nose.

History: The timeline of April 18 & 19, 1775 and history to song Yankee Doodle Went to Town are found in the back of this book. Owen tells Giggles about Thomas Ditson.

Art Medium: Starts by inking then wash of acrylic colors. Builds up with colored pencils, then computer to accent shadows.

Adventure Five:   New Pawspectives

Illustrator: Jay Mooers

Story Line: For ages 6-9. This brings the series to the end. The dogs start a canine fair called Four Paws in Action. Owen tells his friends how the canine sport "Flyball" works. When Owen goes to Doggy Heaven, Giggles becomes the mentor starting with one of Lucky's puppies. We see what the metaphor for Entering Billerica stands for: as there is only one Billerica in the whole world, there is only one with your individuality in this whole world, you!

Owen's Lessons: Owen teaches Giggles the importance of her name. Lucky asks Owen an important question about contagion. Giggles and Dallas ask Owen where some of their friends have gone. He tells them about Doggy Heaven. Giggles realize that she now has to pass Owen's lessons down to others, like Owen had done for her.

History: How towns get their name.

Art Medium: Same as in Adventure Four

I'm Not Afraid

Illustrator: Jay Mooers

Story Line: This little book tells of the big hearts of two six-year old children experiencing the pandemic of 2020 and related issues. We find Maria with her big dog, Tiny, having to self-quarantine with her family, while Jesse, her next door playmate, is being cared for by his grandmother, as his mother is a nurse and not able to come home, even to tuck her child into bed at night. The innocence and joy expressed by these two children, and the thoughts from Tiny, the dog, present lessons for children of all ages.

The first printing of this book has been disbursed to communities starting in Billerica thanks to generous donors in June 2020: Enterprise Bank, Stoneham Bank,  Printing and Graphic Services.  An additional printing was made possible by the Greater Lowell Community Foundation COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund.   Books have been distributed to elementary schools K-2 in Billerica, Lowell, Chelmsford and other sites. (See Current Activities for distributions as of 1/2021.)