Jessica Speaks to Animals by Cindy Wells is a lovely little book about a young girl who finds out she can understand animals and she's some sort of messenger to help them.
The book has an interesting theme, that this young girl has the potential to help a lot of animals. I think it's very sweet in that respect. However, I don't think that it is very well written; there's a lot of useless information in it. The author goes through a lot of unnecessary scenes; Jessica justifies walking home because she lives so close, Jessica explains why she doesn't have a bike or a dog, she explains about her mother's job, etc. There is just so many things that just don't have much relevance to the overall plot. I understand that the author is just trying to make her seem a little more relateable to the children. However, there just isn't much information about this special power and we have very few scenes that really look into it. This power Jessica has developed is really quite interesting, but the audience is treated to things such as why she's walking home rather than the interesting bits and it leaves unanswered questions because the author hasn't bother sorting it out in the book. The main thing I can't figure out is why she didn't realise that she could speak to animals prior to this; surely she would have come across (and heard) animals before the instance Peanuts speaks to her. What about birds outside windows? What about dogs and other animals she might pass in the street? Did these special powers only develop recently or has she always had the power? If they only just developed, how did that happen? If she's had them for a while, why has she only just noticed them? Also, how is it that Peanut figures it out before even Jessica does? Peanut starts talking to her first, having already spoken to other animals and making promises to them about her helping. Overall, the book was interesting in theory, but the author needs to think many aspects through. Also, I think that they ought to tighten up their writing, with less unnecessary portions and to include more important things.
I "bought" a copy of this from Amazon.com.au when it was free. These are just my honest thoughts.