Thursday, November 19, 2015
Book Review: Clover's Luck by Kallie George (2015)
This book is definitely on the higher end of the “beginning reader” spectrum. Though the chapters are short, the font is not as big as in many other beginning chapter books, and there are fewer illustrations, all of which are done in black and white. The writing is very strong - lots of figurative language, and well-constructed sentences that beg to be read aloud. I also noted several moments in the book where the narrator takes an extra moment to define or explain a particular word or concept to the reader - a form of subtle additional support that can be very encouraging to a reader who is new to longer stories. There are some tricky words - mainly names of magical creatures - but kids who have read other fantasy books might not have that much trouble recognizing them. Otherwise, though the book feels more sophisticated than other chapter books, it is really the writing style more than the vocabulary itself that makes it feel that way. Kids in grades 2 to 4 who are ready to really sink their teeth into a story with a true plot will be the perfect audience for this book. (It would also make a nice read-aloud for kids slightly younger.)
Alexandra Boiger is one of my favorite children’s book illustrators. Her style in this book is a bit different - possibly because of the fantastical subject matter, and because every picture is drawn entirely in pencil - but her illustrations bring to life the magical world of the Woods and the adoption agency itself. The illustrations appear pretty infrequently, so they are more decorative than useful as tools for comprehending the text, but they do help the reader imagine some of the more difficult-to-picture scenes. (They are also just really pleasant to look at!)
This book combines two things kids love: fantasy stories and animals! Any child who has ever wished for a unicorn or a dragon for a pet will love to imagine himself or herself in Clover’s shoes. Kids who like fairy tales will also love the way this book incorporates witches, wizards, and princesses into the story. There is also a scary and unexpected ending, which will thrill most readers, but may upset some of the more sensitive ones.