Top critical review
Why are there so many five-star reviews!
Reviewed in the United States on May 6, 2018
Most of you know the original “Pout Pout Fish” to have delightful cadence in the words and rhyme. This book as none of that.
The illustrations, by Dan Hanna, are on par-as they always have been.
Any of you remember how incredible “The Land Before Time” was? Remember how incrementally worse each subsequent sequel became? Not that the concept of a sequel is a guarantee for a flop. There are many that work. But I think there is a temptation to push sequels through without giving it the critical thought and TLC of the original. There is a temptation to think: “They will buy the book no matter what.” And we do.
I love the Llama Llama series. While I have several of them, the writing in each subsequent book has the quality of writing that you know from the first. I enjoy reading all of them, and I know, at least for now, that when I see a new one at the book fair, My son and I will enjoy it.
Rhyme in a children’s story appears to be easy. It is not. But with the past success of the author and the resources of the publisher, I expect more:
“The things you did were mean,
And that’s not what we expect!
So please leave until you”re ready
To treat us with respect.”
Try reading that to your child at the end of a long day. You trip over bad meter. I had to stop to read and re-read line after line to figure out how to say them aloud so that the meter matches.
The things you did were mean,
And not what we’d expect!
Please leave until you’re ready
To treat us with respect.
How hard was it to whittle those sentences down so that the meter reads with a syncopated pattern that is easily recognizable and effortlessly read aloud?
From someone who has loved reading the original to all of my children, I can tell you that MacMillan and the author can do better, and should. It is so punishing to read a bad book to a child who has yet to learn how to read.