“ Genre: Graphic Novels / Comics / Author: Bob Temple / Paperback / 40 Pages / Book is published 2007-12-13 by Stone Arch Books „
I suppose I am a bit obsessive when it comes to books. I end up with my shelves full to bursting - and then I buy more bookcases. Every room in our house except the bathroom and kitchen has at least one bookcase. I could use another set soon - but I'm running out of room to put more shelves. But still I find myself "needing" more books. My oldest has discovered comics and graphic novels and really loves both, so we have a whole new genre to collect now. Although my youngest, age 3, has a massive collection of story books, I do hate for him to feel left out and decided to look for a comic for him as well. He loves stories about children being naughty - so this looked promising. It is produced by Graphic Sparks, a new series of graphic books for very young children.
Although we are always told not to judge a book by it's cover, the cover illustration on this one, along with the title do give the reader a very good idea what is to come. The story is very simple. Willie, Tom, and Grace, are described by their mother as "a bundle of energy", "electric", and "a handful". Mom tolerates their minor misbehaviour with good grace. But if the children are difficult on an average day - when they decide to be really helpful and surprise Mom on Mother's Day - all hell breaks loose. The children decide to surprise Mom with such wonders as a freshly painted house, newly bathed dog, fresh baked cookies and a few other decorations, all of which my children found funny, at least for the first couple of readings.
This book is printed in an easy to read comic book style format. The illustrations are simple, but colourful and attractive. The text is given in white text boxes with 1 -3 sentences and speach bubbles. In my opinion the story is adequate. It is not terribly original, the naughty children and frazzled Mom story has been told a zillion times, but it can always gain an audience, I suppose because most families can relate to it on some level. This story terribly familiar, but it is still very readable. Although bought for my 3 year old, my oldest, who was nearly 7 at the time, has read this on his own, and found it very, very easy. It is listed as "Guided Reading level K" which is an American level for ages 5-6. I would put this about level 6 on ORT's reading scale, but it is not written with a carefully selected vocabulary as the levelled readers here would be. He says he really liked it --- but he couldn't really be bothered to read it again, as he has much better books. I'm sure he will read it again in time - it just isn't a book he would read often.
My three year old did enjoy this a bit more, and it was read a fair number of times over the first week, but never everyday, like his favourite books, and after a week or so, this was more or less forgotten. He did laugh when we read it, but it just isn't up to scratch among his miniature library. It will sadly go to the downstairs bookshelf, where I expect it will be taken out now and again, but this just does not appear able to hold it's place on the favourites bookshelf.
As I said, I don't feel this is bad book in anyway. I do think it would be much more popular if we did not have so many other, really wonderful books on the same subject. For frazzled Mom's, ' The Day Mum Turned Into a Monster' is really at the top of the list, and I'm afraid this book simply cannot compare. For naughty children we have the 'No David' books and 'Tom and the Tinful of Trouble', all of which are really wonderful books. 'The taming of Lucretzia Crum' would also rank far higher for books on naughty children in my opinion, and that of my children. If your child does not have all of the other books on naughty children, I would expect them to get more enjoyment from this book, it might even become a favourite.
I would expect this book to suit from ages 3- 7, but across the entire age range I would really recommend buying 'The Day mum Turned Into a Monster' instead of, or at least before this one. For younger children I would strongly recommend the other books I have mentioned here first as well, and for children of 6-7, I do think 'Horrid Henry' would be a better choice for books with naughty children.
This book is listed as 40 pages, but the story begins on page 6 ends on page 33. After this you get facts about the author and illustrator, a glossary , two pages devoted to questions for discussion or writing prompts, and even tow pages all about chocolate, as well as an ad for more books. I can't say these pages interested my sons, and I do prefer Oxford's habit of printing the questions on the back cover rather than extra pages. I can not remember what I paid for this, but think it was around £3.00. Used copies are still available at this price, with new copies costing £4.99.
This book wasn't a huge hit, but it wasn't a flop either, and I would still consider trying another title in this range in the future - but not at full price. I can only give this a half hearted recommendation as it just never really caught my sons interest too much, but I am giving it 4 stars. I'd prefer 3 1/2, but I can't really knock this all the way down to 3 stars. It's a decent book - the story is just a bit too familiar and I feel a bit short changed in terms of length of story. I do think it would be much more popular in households without quite so many really remarkable books to choose from them.