Books Review – Board Book Roundup

My method for picking out children’s books is to walk around the library and look for books on display that seem interesting/cute, randomly flip to a couple pages and see just how much text there is and to check out the artwork (I can’t tell you how many books I’ve put back because the illustrations are awful!), and then read them to a ridiculously smart almost three year old.  Anyway, I decided to combine several in this review.


TITLE: Harold’s ABC
AUTHOR/ILLUSTRATOR: Crockett Johnson
FORMAT: Board Book
PUBLISHED: Originally 1963. This edition – 2016? 2015? (New book/doesn’t say)

The book is kinda cool.  Harold and his trusty purple crayon (yes, that Harold) go out on an adventure through the alphabet.  This isn’t a typical ABC book.  There’s no A is for apple, turn the page, B is for Banana, etc… Instead, what you get is a story interrupted by that… “To go on any kind of trip, you have to leave home. He started with A for Attic…”  And as Harold is going through this, you see illustrations where the letter is front and center to something they’re talking about (In A’s case, the A makes up the top of the house. Q forms the Queen’s head.)

It isn’t bad, but this book is *small* – like maybe 4 inches or so.  I wish it had been just a little bit larger and the letters had been a little bit bolder.  I’m guessing with a kid a little older who already knows his letters that this story would go over better, but in this case, the toddler knows *most* of his letters and it was a little difficult to get him to pick out the letters and he got bored with it.  [Note: This paragraph brought to you by the phrase “little bit”]

A few of the letters were weak (X is for X-out), and Z was for snore “Zzzl” – um.. since when is there an l in the middle of a snore?  But most of them were good.

I’ll give it a 3/5.  Nothing overly wrong with it, but nothing exceptional about it either.


TITLE: Dig
BOOK BY:  National Geographic Kids
FORMAT: Board Book
PUBLISHED: 2015

So, Dig looked cute.  There’s a photo of large excavating equipment on the front, and when I opened it up randomly, I opened it to a larger photo of the same piece of equipment.  So I sort of assumed that it was about big equipment, which excited me.

Apparently, I should have looked at more pages, because it’s about all kinds of things that dig – people, dogs, whatever.  I was a bit disappointed.  Also, the toddler didn’t really care that mommy and daddy could dig in a garden.  He wanted the big equipment too.

This is an issue I have with board books.  Nothing about the book on the back cover, just a sales pitch for the rest of the series.

Anyway, really disappointed. The book was done well enough, but it isn’t what either of us wanted. And some kid apparently snacked on the library copy, so it tastes good enough.

Still, I’ll give it a tentative 4/5.  I was disappointed in it because it wasn’t what I thought it was (and really, what are the odds that I’d open randomly to the one page of equipment and not any of the other 10 pages of mammals?), but it wasn’t a bad book.


 

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Book Review – Heat Wave by Richard Castle

Title:  Heat Wave

Author: Richard Castle

Format: Hardback

Written: 2009

Published: 2009

Heat Wave is an interesting book to consider, when it is a book that was written by a fictional character of a hit TV series.  Though the book was obviously written by a real person, Richard Castle is not, himself, a real person, and sadly there is no information on the actual author who wrote the book.  ABC, the company that produces the show Castle wishes for readers to believe that the character Richard Castle wrote the book.

In the TV series Castle is acclaimed to be a New York Times Best Seller Novelist, and to be honest the quality of the writing in my opinion was lacking in that respect.  Don’t get me wrong, the book was amusing to read and I did enjoy it, but I wouldn’t place it as a best seller, or of the quality of a bestselling author.  There were a few idiosyncrasies with phraseology, and things were rather rushed at points. Also I wasn’t fond of the combined nickname for detectives Raely and Oacha.  Throughout the book they are referred to as Roach in the singular sense many times and I had to pause and remind myself that Roach represented two people, not one.  Also the use of a lot of names with the same starting letter caused things to get a bit difficult at times.

Yet, despite my issues with the book, and it not being of the caliber of a bestselling author, it was still a decent read.  I was amused and found myself laughing aloud on occasion, as there were several witty moments in the book.  It was also interesting to see where certain episodes of the TV series were loosely incorporated into the book.  The book though rushed did not truly capture my interest until near the end when Detective Nikki Heat was hot on the trail of her murder suspect, and by that point I was mainly eager to know if my prediction of who committed the murder was accurate.  I will say that I was correct, but I won’t say who the murder was, for those who would wish to read this book.  Over all, I give the book a three out of five pages.

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