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Book Reviews

Laure McCourt Lopez Review: "Bella and Harry; Let's Visit Maui!" by Lisa Manzione
By Laure McCourt Lopez
Jul 27, 2014 - 4:13:00 AM

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Having been bitten by the travel bug many years ago, I was intrigued with this fanciful excursion of the beautiful island of Maui, one of Hawaii's eight main islands. Who could ask for more charming tour guides than Bella and Harry, brother and sister Chihuahuas, as they invite young readers to join them on a trip that explores different customs, cultural diversity and historic landmarks.

In starting the journey, the reader will take note of a dozen differing travel stamps on the inside cover of the book; Bella and Harry are quite the world travelers as this story is number twelve in their series of global hopping. The full page colorful illustrations by Kristine Lucco, immediately immerse the reader into the Hawaiian lifestyle. Kudos to author Lisa Manzione who engages her audience by relaying informative and fun environmental and historical facts. Did you know that the height of Wailua Falls, which towers over 80 feet tall, is approximately the equivalent of "eight average sized dolphins, from nose to tail fin?"

Boys and girls will delight in experimenting with the sounds of the Hawaiian language as Bella and Harry glide from one activity to another, sharing words and phrases as they scamper on the rocky shoreline, hike in a lava tunnel and top off the day with a hula lesson before they sample a bevy of Hawaiian flavors at their first luau. The pups' willingness to participate in island life will surely invite inquiry from a young audience which will springboard into informative conversations.

I especially appreciate how the author uses child-friendly descriptions that are clear and involve the five senses. Having experienced a beach of black colored sand when I was a little girl, I was immediately transported to that moment in time when Bella led her younger brother Harry to the shoreline and invited him to experience the texture of the sand: "It feels like small, smooth pebbles."

These two tiny tourists wrap up their Hawaiian vacation with a helicopter ride that hovers over Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, revealing the dramatic landscape when hot lava meets the cool ocean water. And what would a vacation be like without snapshots showing your fun adventures? Seeing Harry riding the waves on his surfboard and Bella sporting a muumuu and lei are not to be missed!

Do a bit of an island hop yourself and explore the website  for further adventures. Two paws up for this fun book that is a delight for young audiences as well as the read aloud crowd. "Mahalo" to both author and illustrator, and if you don't know what that Hawaiian phrase means, your two tiny tour guides will tell you that it means "thank you!"

Laure McCourt Lopez

Lisa Manzione is the proud single mother of two college-graduates and currently resides in Delray Beach, FL with her seven dogs. Each title in the The Adventures of Bella and Harry have received the Mom's Choice Award. Let's Visit Istanbul! won Creative Child's Magazine's Book of the Year, and Let's Visit Jerusalem! has been nominated for Book of the Year by Foreword Magazine. For information on the series please visit

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