Friday, February 05, 2010
Call me corny, but one of the things I look for in a children's book is a sound moral message. I don't necessarily mean that every children's book needs a happy ending or a "good little boys and girls get rewarded" message, just some kind of idea that kids can take away with them, some kind of reinforcement , however subliminal, that can build up their value system. I was recently sent a copy of Mark Alden Johnson's “I’m Up in a Tree” to review, and I think this is a book that definitely passes that test. Here's what I thought about the book:
Here's what the publishers have to say about the book:
Told in a lyrical rhyming style, Mark Alden Johnson’s “I’m Up in a Tree” (Bridgeway Books, January 2010) follows a little boy who climbs a tree for fun, only to realize he is scared to get down. As he sits high in the branches, various creatures that live in the tree approach him and advise him on how to get his feet back on the ground. Birds tell him to fly out of the tree, bees suggest he jump from the branch and a cat proposes he climb down. It is up to the little boy to decide if he should heed their advice, or trust his instincts and wait for his dad to help him. “I’m Up in a Tree” is a fun way to teach kids early to resist peer pressure and make their own choices.
I wasn't too excited to open up this book (and the next section of my review explains why), but I was pleasantly surprised to find that I enjoyed reading this story. Not being about to get down from a tree is a situation that any kid can imagine finding himself in, so it really held their interest. My kids enjoyed listening to the book, and since the rhyming patterns were so simple, we were able to make a game out of guessing the last word in every verse. The talking animals provided some nice fantasy, but also illustrated an important concept: that bad advice doesn't necessarily come from evil people, it could also come from well-meaning but misguided friends.
Although the story was fabulous, the cartoonish, 2-D illustrations left me, well, flat. First impressions are everything, and although the book has a nice, hardbound feel, the cover illustration looks amateurish. With a good illustrator, I think the visual appeal could be improved tremendously!
The Bottom Line
"I'm Up in a Tree" is an easy read with an exciting story and a great message: that even young kids can be faced with situations where they need to make good choices.
One lucky Bonggamom Finds reader will receive a copy of "I'm up in a Tree". To enter, simply leave a comment on this post and share one tip you have for teaching financial responsibility to kids.
For extra entries, you can do any or all of the following, (you can only do each extra entry once; please leave a separate comment for each extra entry):
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Win a copy of "I'm Up in a Tree" from @bonggafinds http://tinyurl.com/ydppzsr
Maximum of 5 entries per person. This giveaway ends at midnight PST on February 23, 2009; I will draw a winner at random on February 24 and post the winner's name as soon as the winner confirms acceptance. For additional giveaway rules, click here. Good luck!
Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of the book to review, but no monetary compensation. The views and opinions expressed here are my own.