Today on TBF is a book and a genre that I have never ever reviewed before although, it is one of my favourites categories out there. The folks over at Olympia Publishers were kind enough to send me a few review copies all the way from my lost home, London and in this stack of 3, 2 were Children’s Fiction Books. One is for the age group of 5 to 8 year olds and the one that I am going to be reviewing today is for the age group of 3 to 6 year olds.
The book up for review is Fred N’ Friends : A Woodland Adventure by Angela O’Donnell and Stephanie O’Donnell, Illustrated by Timm Joy. This book is about a sausage dog named Fred who adores his owners but when his owners leave for work, he embarks on an adventure with his friends in the woods!
Before I get into the review, I think it would be right to explain why I’m suddenly delving into this very genre now. When I was first approached for this particular book, I was quite hesitant. Not because of the lack of love for it but because I was scared of the fact if I was someone qualified enough to review it. Believe it or not, children’s fiction is a genre that is the most difficult one to take up and review, even more than non fiction because your views and opinions impact a mass of little humans who are going to learn, adapt and imbibe whatever YOU teach them. I have been fortunate enough to have read many books to my little cousin and I figured, that if I could have the opportunity to bring to light a great, enjoyable read or even highlight a bad one, I would be helping another kid out there. Also, I was expecting my twin monkeys then and for me to take up this book to ensure if I wanted my own kids to read it is what sealed the deal. The reason I took so long to review it is because I couldn’t bear to read these without breaking into chokes and tears and that would have made for a horrendous review.
Back to the book, it is narrated in a rhyming format of AA BB. The authors have made all the efforts to ensure the inclusion of as many sounds and adjectives so that the children are able to relate to and apply themselves. The storyline of Fred walking along with his friends to discover the Woodland Boss is a great way to keep the little readers engaged. Each stranger they meet recounts his own accident with the boss which makes up for a funny trail of friends looking for the monster.
The illustrations are bright and quite detailed. I love the use of brown throughout which streamlines and brings together the whole book. If you have read THE ROOM ON THE BROOM OR THE GRUFFALO by Julia Donaldson, you will be able to find the similarities quite striking between them. The illustrations are done in a loose drawing so as to give it that kiddish appeal. I’m a big fan of books that are able to bring to life creatures who are imperfect and realistic as opposed to being clean and unreal.
The language is engaging and would make up for an excellent narration. The authors, as I mentioned earlier, have made a great effort of using diverse vocabulary to enhance the kids’ lexicons. The use of sounds and expressions throughout the book is a great addition.
Call me biased because it was supposed to be my kids’ first ever book, I have to give it 4.5 stars!
For the Parents/Guardians/Teachers/Readers: use the illustrations during story time, asking them to describe the scenes for you. You can ask them to create their own stories to test their creativity and imagination along with their vocabulary.
Disclaimer : I received a review copy of the book in exhange of an honest review. Thankyou Olympia Publishers for the copy and also for your patience and bearing with me with the huge delay.
Until next time!