CM . . .
. Volume IX Number 6. . . . November 15, 2002
"Move all you cows!" Ricky shouted.
"Move all you cows!" Lisa shouted.
The rock from the biggest slingshot in the world started to drop from the sky. Right in the middle of all the cows. "Run away!" Ricky shouted. "Run away!" Lisa shouted. Thump. The rock hit a cow in the head. Slowly, it fell over. All the other cows ran away. That is when Ricky and Lisa saw that they had not hit a cow. No, they had hit a big, big bull named Old Black. Old Black did not get up. "This is not good," Ricky said. "You are right," Lisa said. "What do I know?" Joel said. "I am only seven."
This new series from Bethany House Publishers is designed for beginning readers and mirrors the standard format for books of that type. The stories are based on realistic situations with a humorous touch. In Bad Bug Blues, Joel tries to liven up his concert going experience by bringing in a jar of caterpillars. Unfortunately, not all of the caterpillars can be accounted for, and things go amiss in the hunt for the rogue caterpillar. The numerous pencil illustrations and the well-paced text make these books easy to read and enjoy. Key words and phrases are strategically repeated for emphasis, and each brief chapter is crafted to leave the reader hanging in suspense.
Unfortunately, the books have limited use in most classrooms because of the very clear Christian undertones. Each book begins with a moral drawn from a biblical proverb. The reader is asked to consider these morals and place them in the context of the reader's own life. Although the morals are fairly simple (and generally accepted), the very fact that they are clearly drawn from the Bible may cause some problems with non-denominational classrooms.
Despite this difficulty, the books are well written and deal with issues that are both pertinent and entertaining. Undoubtedly, many children will find these books appealing. This series, thus far, deserves a recommendation, but I must include the "with reservations" because of its religious moralizations.
Recommended with reservations.
Neigel is the Instruction Librarian for the University College of
the Cariboo in
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