Press & Reviews

The Greenville Journal

Local author’s ‘Tabouli’ tells adventures of real-life diabetes alert dog
by Melody Wright, August 6, 2019

Local author Matt Pelicano’s new book shares the adventures of a real-life diabetes alert dog named Tabouli and his 13-year-old owner, Elizabeth. “Tabouli: The Story of a Heart-Driven Diabetes Alert Dog” will release on Aug. 15.

“The main focus of the book is the relationship between Elizabeth and the dog,” Pelicano says. “It shows the benefits of a medical alert dog but also the benefits of the love between the two of them.”

Tabouli’s life was not easy before he found Elizabeth. Tied in a trash bag and thrown from a car, then later found by a family who couldn’t afford to keep him, Tabouli knew only abandonment.
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“Matt has so perfectly captured the joys, tribulations, and lessons this team experienced in a wonderful children’s story. You will cheer for Tabouli, cry with him, and want to hug him for being such a remarkable dog; giving unselfishly, not just once for his owner, but over and over again.”

-Debby Kay
World-Renown Dog Trainer
Owner of Chilbrook Kennels, Harpers Ferry, WV

Book Review

Nanine Simmons D’Aquin

“Tabouli is a great book! I enjoyed reading it and I feel it truly captures the essence of the little red dog. It is a warm and loving story of family bonds and determination to fight and win even when the odds are stacked high against Tabouli and his young owner.

We are delighted, saddened and educated by this amazing tale!

A 5 star rating!”

Book Review

Pixie Geren

“In reading Matt Pelicano’s book, Tabouli, the picture he paints with words echo’s atmosphere, rhythm and emotion.  He brings to life the mind of a dog and the minds of the people who surround him.  Not only is this a fabulous read for any age, it also sends a message about the true worth and meaning of a service dog, which many people don’t understand. 

This book highlights the trust, empathy, and wisdom at work between Tabouli and Elizabeth, with great focus on loyalty and mutual respect. 

Congratulations, Matt on a job well done!”

Book Review

Susan Manchester, poet and artist
Visit Susan's Website

“Today is a very good day -- for I have just finished reading Matt Pelicano's latest book TABOULI. If you love dogs you must read this book; if you love your family you must read this book; if you have ever lost someone you must read this book -- and finally; if you believe in the resiliency of the human spirit you must read this book! 

In an attempt to bring awareness to those in need of Alert dogs Pelicano has achieved that and much more. The unwavering trust based on love between dog and human is indisputable and this is proven again in this story but beyond that TABOULI demonstrates the exquisite beauty of family love that carries us through grief, disappointment, and fear. I was moved to tears of both joy and sadness as the Vaughan family deals with the challenges that any one of us might face. 

Matt Pelicano has written a truly beautiful book. It is a book that might be described as a story about the best parts of the human condition. The Vaughan family reacts to their new puppy this way: "It was as if they'd found something precious, without even knowing they'd been searching." My thoughts exactly about this book!”

Philbert LaRue had a Hole in his Shoe by Matt Pelicano begins with Philbert deciding to ignore the hole in his shoe. As the hole gets larger and larger, Philbert plugs it with his shirt, his cap and his belt, even the pot his plants were in. Nothing works. Had he fixed his shoe properly when he discovered the problem, Philbert would have been fine. But the hole gets larger, and Philbert finds himself in a terrible situation.

Pelicano uses Seuss-like rhymes to create a delightful children's book with a message even little ones can learn: Take care of your problems when they are still small. My nieces and grandchildren laughed, finished the rhymes, and wanted me to read it again.

You will find Pelicano's book a delight---and you'll agree with Philbert: "If I'd properly fixed it/when first it was small/I would sooner have found/ I'd no problem at all."

Linda Kelly
Author of Mice on Main

The Sherrill-Kenwood Library

I'm proud to know that "Philbert LaRue had a Hole in his Shoe" now rests on the shelves of several school libraries in SC.

Knowing, however, that it is part of the New York State Library System (Mid-York Library System) and sits on a shelf in the Sherrill-Kenwood Library, where I grew up and made so many wonderful memories, well... that's pretty gratifying.

Thank you, Sherrill-Kenwood Library!

The Greenville Journal

Local children’s author, student illustrator bring clumsy character to life
by Melody Wright, Sept 13, 2018 | Photo by Will Crooks

Philbert LaRue’s journey begins with a hole in his shoe but by the last page ends with a valuable lesson.

The clumsy 65-year-old man is trapped in a comedy of errors.

“He’s kind of an ‘aw, shucks’ type character,” Greenville children’s author Matt Pelicano says. “Bad things are happening to him, and he never really figures out why.”

The recently released picture book “Philbert LaRue Had a Hole in His Shoe” is written in a Dr. Seuss rhyming style.

“Rhyming is fun because you can do things with a rhyme that are more clever and more surprising than you would with prose,” Pelicano says.

The fun-to-read book also teaches a moral...

Book Review

Deb Richardson-Moore Visit Deb's Website

"A delightful and hilarious book about the dangers of taking shortcuts in life. I don't know what I loved more -- Matt Pelicano's Seuss-like rhymes or Ashley Spikings' perpetually surprised sun.

"Philbert LaRue is a fun and funny character!"

Deb Richardson-Moore
Author of The Weight of Mercy and the Branigan Powers mystery series

Book Review

Susan Manchester, poet and artist
Visit Susan's Website

“What a delight to read Matt Pelicano’s wonderful children’s story, “Philbert LaRue had a Hole in his Shoe.” It is a story with a playful rhyme and an engaging rhythm. I started to giggle as soon as I read the title and never really stopped until I reached the end.

Pelicano’s point is made perfectly clear: that when we put off fixing a small glitch it can turn into a big problem.

This story is a marvelously fresh approach to learning a very important lesson. Philbert LaRue does indeed rue the day he decides not to fix the hole in his shoe! A must read for adults and children alike.”

Book Review

Rod McClendon
Writer, Actor, Comic

"I wondered why I was chosen to review this children’s book. Then I remembered the pair of shoes (one with a hole) that have been riding around in the backseat of my car for months now. LaRue’s plight literally touched my sole.

"Matt Pelicano authors this delightful tale, echoing Dr. Seuss and Shel Silverstein in his playful use of verse. Lines like, “He sat there just shivering in the cold autumn air; with his shirt in his shoe and the rain in his hair; with his hat on his toes and his saggy old pants; and a pot on his foot, from his favorite plants” will enthrall small listeners.

"How does Philbert get into these predicaments? Children may not understand the phrase, “A stitch in time saves nine,” but they will be able to anticipate disaster for Philbert with each new crazy method he employs. His hilarious mishaps will hopefully help them learn to search for more sensible solutions.

"Illustrator Ashley Spikings cleverly includes an observant sun, a companion cat, and other concerned creatures, keeping children engaged on every page. This is a great read-a-loud for youngsters who like to laugh and adults who love the sounds of children’s laughter."