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Wibzilla: ER Level One book reviews

January 17, 2012

Happy Appreciate a Dragon Day, Booksliders!  Today I’ve got my new level one Easy Reader books to review for you.

Level one books are probably harder to write than books of higher levels, I think.  You can only say so much (or so little) and getting a story across can be difficult.  Also, adaptations are always tricky with limited space.  Take, for example, Maryoku Yummy: The Blue Wish by Mary Tillworth.  This is based on a show, right?  I know this because the book is incomprehensible without having seen the show.  I’ve said this before but these companies shouldn’t just be working for their target audience.  Parents and grandparents need to be able to read these books to the kids, which means having some grasp of what’s going on.

Take, for example, a well-done level one ER: Toy Story: The Bunny Surprise by Apple Jordan.  I laughed aloud.  I didn’t need to know who the characters were to enjoy it.  I don’t know who Bonnie is.  That’s not what matters.  What matters is that the story, brief though it is, is told so well that I had a good time even though I’m 1 1/2 movies behind in the Toy Story series.

Look for the Lorax by Tish Rabe is confusing for those who’ve read the book but apparently not seen the movie.  Is it a prequel?  Does it matter?  I’m not sure it does, because it has that Seussian follow-along-with-me logic, you know?

Apparently, all the Disney princesses have the same birthday in Happy Birthday, Princess! by Jennifer Liberts Weinberg.  This book ends with the title line but includes pictures of eight princesses, which I guess is everyone saying it at the same time in different places?  But I first got the impression that you were supposed to read it to your own “princess” and that’s who the birthday princess was at the end.  I don’t know.  Princess-crazy kids will go crazy for it, of course, and it’s cheerful enough.

Barbie’s I Can Be…A Horse Rider by Mary Man-Kong has a good story, but it doesn’t feel like the others in the series.  After all, those are actually professions.  This doesn’t even seem to have an accurate name.  But, hey, it has a story!  That story works!  Not a lot of words, but a lot going on!  It can have a pass from me.

Finally, I read LEGO City: Fire in the Forest! by Samantha Brooke.  It’s the story of a guy who does his job poorly because he’s too busy being lazy or competent.  I guess he’s supposed to be funny, but we’re not talking about a clown in the circus–we’re talking about firefighters.  A little disappointing, but at least I didn’t feel like this one was a walking advertisement.

Backlog time!

Cookie’s Week by Cindy Ward was my daughter’s faaavorite growing up.  Well, one of them.  I read it to my storytime kids and they liked it too.  Other favorites from her (and me) are June 29, 1999 by David Wiesner, a story about a vegetable experiment gone wrong–maybe; Jennifer Jones Won’t Leave Me Alone by Frieda Wishinsky, the story of a little boy tormented by an adoring classmate; The Monster at the End of This Book by Jon Stone (which I’ve mentioned before) and let’s just point out that I read Another Monster at the End of This Book and leave it at that (ARGH ELMO); Maryann MacDonald’s How to Hug, which is sooo cute; Pierre: A Cautionary Tale in Five Chapters and a Prologue by Maurice Sendak, which I can’t read without singing like Amanda Palmer; and two great celebrity-written books: Weird Al’s When I Grow Up and Michael Ian Black’s A Pig Parade is a Terrible Idea.  Love them both.  Some five-star books for you to check out, vetted by either my daughter or me, or both of us together.

Time’s up.  Next time: …Not sure yet, but I bet it’s more children’s books.

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