On select Sundays I will be reviewing some of the old Apple Paperback titles from my childhood. These titles were published, or republished by Scholastic during the 1980s & 1990s and were written and set in the United States. In Australia, these books were typically only available from libraries or could be ordered through catalogues that were distributed through primary schools. Most of these titles are now long out of print or have been updated and republished for later generations ...
Animal Inn differed from a number of the series aimed at girls that was released by Scholastic during the 1980s & 1990s as the main focus of the stories was on animal care, rather than school or friendships. The series was about Valentine "Val" Taylor who lived in a rural town somewhere in either the United States or Canada (it's not clear to me which, though some of the place names, such as Essex, hint that the books were indeed set in Canada,) and who, after school, works at the Veterinary Clinic that is owned and run by her widowed father, Doc Taylor (known as Doc to readers).
In this book, the local animal shelter has just burned down. Not only do Val and Doc (and the rest of the gang,) find themselves providing much needed care to these injured animals, but the animals will all need homes as well--and the local humane society needs funds to build a local shelter. Val and the others organise for a country fair to be held to raise money for the shelter and to raise awareness of pet adoption. Meanwhile, a local farmer has been abusing a donkey in his care and it is up to Val, Doc and Miss Maggie, the man's eccentric neighbour to put a stop to it.
This one is an enjoyable read, and one that would probably easily stand the test of time and be enjoyed by contemporary readers. The focus is on animals, rather than the pop culture or fashions of the day. Very small children might be upset by the scene were Pedro is mistreated on the farm, however, the depictions are find for those in the target audience.
About the Author: Virginia Vail is the author of two book series for children, Animal Inn and Horse Crazy (published by troll,) and the stand-alone novel If Wishes Were Horses. No other biographical detail about the author is available.