December 2, 2023

Novel Lives

Book Publicity, Reviews, Author Interviews, and Discussion Posts by Susan Crosby

A Very Special Review- Clover Goes To Notre Dame By Lisa Kelly

Clover Goes To Notre Dame By Lisa Kelly (Illustrations By Peg McClure)

Goodreads Summary of Clover Goest To Notre Dame By Lisa Kelly (Illustrations by Peg McClure). Review below!

Meet Clover, a French Bulldog with a nose for adventure and more than a touch of luck. “A clover reminds us to keep faith, love, and hope in our hearts,” my mom says. What else will Clover learn on her very first visit to her mom’s alma mater? Follow this little Frenchie through Father Sorin’s big college campus and straight to the heart of the Notre Dame family.

Clover Goes To Notre Dame By Lisa Kelly (Illustrations By Peg McClure)- Review

I’m going to talk generally about Clover Goes To Notre Dame, but I’m also going to review from an educator’s point of view. For those that don’t know, I was in education for 15 years. My focus was on literacy (including two MA degrees). Clover Goes to Notre Dame is Lisa Kelly’s fifth book (see information, links, and a bio below).

Generally, Clover Goes To Notre Dame is a sweet story about Clover, a French Bulldog’s first visit to Notre Dame. I loved when she found out that although she was French, she could be a part of the Fighting Irish family. Lisa Kelly tells the tale of how Clover finds out why she was named Clover. According to Mara.Com, a four-leaf clover encompasses the following :

The first sheet <leaf> is for hope, the second is for faith, and the third is for charity; the fourth leaf would therefore be lucky. It is also said that it would be in the image of God: a single plant with three lobes, which represents the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

Being Clover Goes to Notre Dame is focused on Notre Dame University; it encompasses the resonance of faith. However, I believe this is a picture book for everyone to enjoy with their children whether you are a Notre Dame Alumni/faithful, Catholic, or not. It resonates with a belief in faith, hope, and love, which is something the world needs more of.

Additionally, Clover is just adorable. Her adventures at Notre Dame include splashing in a lake, making friends with a squirrel, and learning about Notre Dame Fighting Irish football. This is something all kids will love. Underneath these fun antics are how we all can spread a sense of hope in our hearts and faith in those around us.

Peg McClure’s illustrations are a wonderful addition to the story of Clover. They are bright and colorful, adding a sense of playfulness and secondary communication to the story.

Summary Review

Thank you to Lisa Kelly, and Kelly Creations, for allowing me to do this special review. Clover Goes To Notre Dame was released on October 2nd (through the website linked below).
However, it’ll be available on Amazon (linked below) on October 9th.

Clover Goes To Notre Dame- Educationally Speaking

As an educator, I would definitely utilize Lisa Kelly’s Clover Goes To Notre Dame as a read-aloud to teach multiple reading skills. I would say that with its length, and vocabulary, this is a read-aloud for upper grades (maybe 4th grade, but definitely 5th+). Part of what makes it so appealing as an educator is that it is hard to find picture books that engage older readers. With its discussion of football, and university life, it has that ability.

With its length, vocabulary, and themes, this is a great touchstone text (meaning you can go back to it again and again throughout the year). Some reading skills you can work on include:

  1. Sequencing
  2. Context Clues, for harder vocabulary (and vocabulary from there)
  3. Drawing Conclusions
  4. Themes/Big Idea
    1. Maybe most importantly (especially with middle school+ students), you could start discussing what university means and how they can start now to prepare for their future.
  5. Text-to-text connections
    1. You could have older students watch Rudy and then have them compare and contrast and make connections.

One way I could think of it for younger children is to stick with the illustrations. Learning to tell the story off what they see and being able to make the illustrations make sense (without reading it) in a story they tell is a very important early reading skill. This would be especially useful in a guided reading setting.

As an educator and reader, I truly enjoyed the adventures and deeper themes of Clover Goes To Notre Dame. Lisa Kelly did an excellent job capturing the meaning of hope and the Fighting Irish atmosphere.

Lisa Kelly’s Books: Buying Information (author bio below)

You can see and buy all of Lisa Kelly’s books on her website book page (linked). Additionally, you will find adorable gift packages to go with Clover Goes To Notre Dame:

Amazon Link (available as of October 9th)


Lisa Kelly

Lisa Kelly’s four other Notre Dame-themed books* include:


Domer Dishes: Inside the Lives and Kitchens of Your Irish Gridiron Greats (V1)

Triumphs From Notre Dame: Echoes of Her Loyal Sons & Daughters

The Men We Became: MORE Echoes From the End zone

Echoes From the End Zone: The Men We Became

*Again, all books can be bought on the linked website page and Amazon.Com

Lisa Kelly Biography (note about Clover Goes to Notre Dame) And Contact Information:

I went to college at the University of Notre Dame from 1989-1993. I absolutely love my school, and I love my animals. For years, twenty-eight to be exact, I sent my loved ones Christmas letters penned in the voice of my pets. First, I wrote using the voices of my cats, Taz and Puzzle. Then I continued with my dogs, Hailey and Molly. And now the letters are “written” by my current dog, Clover. Clover is a playful, quirky, and funny French Bulldog. When I decided to write a Notre Dame children’s book, I knew she would be the perfect narrator. I hope you love seeing the Notre Dame campus through Clover’s eyes. For me, it has been a joy to create and share this fun and whimsical tale.

Contact Information:









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