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Official Review: Puffy and the Formidable Foe

Please use this sub-forum to discuss both middle-grade and younger children's books, including picture books, easy readers, and children's chapter books. Topics for books aimed at children 12 and under go in this forum.

Official Review: Puffy and the Formidable Foe

Post Number:#1 by CataclysmicKnight
» 17 Apr 2017, 16:33

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "Puffy and the Formidable Foe" by Marie Lepkowski and Ann Marie Hannon.]

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3 out of 4 stars
Review by CataclysmicKnight
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Puffy and the Formidable Foe by Marie Lepkowski, Ann Marie Hannon and Margaret B. Hannon is a cute, short little illustrated children's book about a young kitty cat named Puffy. One day he decides to go off hunting for a rat and has an adventure away from home. Unfortunately, instead of a rat he finds a "kitty that doesn't meow" - a skunk! Puffy learns the hard way about skunks and runs home, where he is cleaned back up and realizes the errors of his ways.

The best children's books impart a lesson, and with Puffy and the Formidable Foe that lesson is to not run off alone. Puffy learns the hard way that the world isn't all smiles and sunshine, but that lesson is learned in a silly metaphorical way, not a scary, dark way. Who wouldn't want to stay away from smelly skunk spray? It's a very cute, smart way to teach the lesson and was in fact so metaphorical I might not have picked it up if not for the author's explanation.

Here's where the book really went above and beyond for me. Most children's books are merely presented as-is and it's left up to the parents to talk about the book with their kids (if they do at all). With Puffy and the Formidable Foe there's a whole page on ways to use the book with kids before the story actually begins. Several different prompts are presented to help children learn the lesson, learn about rhyming (the vast majority of the book is told in rhyme) and there's even an offer for an additional coloring page and a list of the bigger words with their meanings if one emails the authors. I really found that to be a terrific plus for the book, as bonding and teaching are such important benefits of reading to kids.

The art in the book is very clearly hand-created, which walks a fine line between not being overly fantastic but also being unique, cute and totally relatable for children. It's the kind of art that a kid could attempt to do on their own, although there are some details that wouldn't be quite as easy to emulate. While I can't find proof either way, one of the Amazon reviews states that this is 3 generations of family that worked on this book, and if so I wonder if one of the younger family members helped with the art. If so, it's incredibly cute and so genuinely fits with the idea of sharing the book with your own children!

The book is very short - only 8 wide-screen pages in the actual story - but it's pretty much the exact length it should be. The length also makes it incredibly easy to go back over it again, repeatedly hunting down rhyming words and talking about the theme. There is also one single grammatical error early into the story itself, but it isn't major. I feel very confident in giving Puffy and the Formidable Foe a solid 3 out of 4 stars. While Amazon has no recommended age listed, I'd recommend it to parents who are first starting to explore reading with their children. The length makes it fitting for even the most impatient, quick to fall asleep kids!

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Puffy and the Formidable Foe
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Re: Official Review: Puffy and the Formidable Foe

Post Number:#2 by Amagine
» 18 Apr 2017, 10:53

I love the fact that the author strongly encourages children and adults to read with each other. The prompts at the beginning of the book is an excellent touch! Every children's book should have something like that because sometimes parents need to be educated as well on how they can promote conversation through the book.

Great Review! 👦👧
"You have to write the book that wants to be written. If the book will be too difficult for grown-ups, then you write it for children." -Madeleine L'Engle
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Re: Official Review: Puffy and the Formidable Foe

Post Number:#3 by Chrys Brobbey
» 18 Apr 2017, 15:06

Using the skunk to teach Puffy a lesson is a very clever ploy. The review is very refreshing. Thanks.
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