Hello friends! It’s been (checks date of last post) four years since I last posted! Well, the good news is that now my kids are older and I’ll actually have time for this blog! As some of you may (or may not) know, I’m a gigantic kid lit nerd. I love picture books, I’m a huge fan of early reader books, and I currently have 25 YA books checked out of the library just for some light reading. So I’m going to be posting reviews of some pretty terrific books written by other people. And some awful books too, just for fun. (I actually have a collection of books I do not like.)
My 5-year-old daughter, Vivi, has gamely agreed to give me a kid’s point of view, and, although non-committal when I asked, I’m sure 3-year-old Lily will throw in her two cents here and there. So, without further ado, let’s get started!
Tonight’s review will be of Ben Clanton’s fantastic Narwhal and Jelly graphic novel series. We’ve got the first three books and they’re just…well, they’ve got three winning features, according to Vivi:
1. Narwhal and Jelly are really cute. This is true! The design is so simple, but both characters are really expressive (sort of like Mo Willems’ Elephant and Piggie).
2. The storylines are silly. I like the fact that Narwhal is obsessed with waffles. I like the fact that the crab calls Jelly Jolt ‘Jelly Dolt’ in book 2. I like the whole peanut butter gag in book 3. The books make little to no sense in terms of having a traditional story arc and three-act structure, but who cares? They’re super-fun to read and they appeal to their audience. Win-win!
3. They’re easy enough for a reader to read if they happen to be five, but reading a couple of grade levels above. It’s not easy to find something that’s JUST RIGHT in terms of reading level, but these books fit the bill for Vivi. I’d say they’re kind of perfect for a strong reader at 5, a good reader at 6 and an average reader at 7. There’s not a lot of text on each page, but some of the words aren’t high frequency at all and require decoding skills (‘invisible,’ ‘superpower,’ ‘mustache,’ identity,’ just to mention a few). Vivi likes to hear these books aloud (read ‘with voice’ by moi), but she’s perfectly capable of reading them herself. If you’ve got a clever clogs that devours picture books and wants to move to the next level, give Narwhal and Jelly a try.
If you want to know more about Ben Clanton or Narwhal and Jelly, check out their awesome website: http://www.narwhalandjelly.com/books/
Mama’s grade: 5/5 waffles
Vivi’s grade: A