Review by Izesicle -- Puffy and the Formidable Foe

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Izesicle
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Review by Izesicle -- Puffy and the Formidable Foe

Post by Izesicle » 14 Oct 2017, 20:58

[Following is a volunteer review of "Puffy and the Formidable Foe" by Marie Lepkowski and Ann Marie Hannon.]
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3 out of 4 stars
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How do you teach your children not to wander alone far from home? For myself, some episodes of Criminal Minds has me changing my route home every few days, but children need a gentler approach, preferably with cat pictures.

Puffy and the Formidable Foe by Marie Lepkowski, Ann Hannon, and Margaret Hannon is a children's book that teaches readers of the perils of straying from home. Puffy is an adventurous cat that wandered into the forest. He met another animal and it was not a good experience for him. What follows is a nice story on how Puffy learned his lesson and acted differently after his experience. There are around two sentences per page with accompanying illustrations related to the text. The illustrations are colorful and drawn simply in crayons or color pencils. To this non-artist, I liked that the drawings were achievable.

In addition to the moral lesson in the book, there were other things that the book wanted to teach, such as, words that rhyme and the alliteration in the title. The rhyming words are underlined. There was a nice how-to in the beginning, giving a guide to the guardian on the possible uses of the book. A nice coloring page was added at the end of the book for a good activity after reading. A list of the big words used and a second coloring page can be provided if requested via email. Personally, I think they should have been included in the book without needing for the buyer to email the authors.

I feel that the story would be effective in teaching its lesson because many children can identify with the adventurous nature of the lead character Puffy. I also like that there are several ways to maximize the use of this book, as listed in the how-to guide in the beginning. The child can use 4 senses in this book - the sense of sight by reading along and looking at the illustrations, the sense of touch by coloring on the book, the sense of hearing by listening to the reading of the rhyming words and alliteration, even the sense of smell by talking about why Puffy needed a bath after meeting the "kitty". I wouldn't recommend tasting the book.

When you read the book, you will find out why the word "kitty" is in quotation marks. I wished that there was consistency in capitalizing the word "kitty". There were two other phrases that were in quotation marks but I couldn't figure out why. These were "yucky" and "mushroom hoods". Also, the word "till" should have been spelled as " 'til" on page 11. The illustration in the page that talks about the bath was jarring to the eye. It looks like a small piece of the previous page was just replicated to fill up the whole page. A fresh drawing should have been done. Another thing I didn't like about the book was that the line breaks (indicated here with slashes) sometimes do not correspond to how the text should be read. For example, "For his owner would bathe / him, with 'yucky' shampoo" should have been printed as "For his owner would bathe him, /with 'yucky' shampoo". This phrase, "No one ever told / Puffy, you better beware..." should have been printed as "No one ever told Puffy, / you better beware...".

For these reasons, I am rating this book 3 out of 4 stars. If this were not a children's book, I would have forgiven these errors. However, a misspelled word in a children's book teaches a child incorrectly, which may be difficult to undo. The improperly-placed line breaks ruin the rhythm of the text, which is distracting for a book that is meant to be read aloud. Outside of these, I think that this book would be a great bonding and learning tool between any parent and their child. Puffy, the lead character, has an unsavory experience but it is not traumatic enough to deserve a warning. I also liked reading in the author's bio that making this book was a bonding experience for their family as well, since Marie, her daughter Ann, and her granddaughter Margaret collaborated on it.

******
Puffy and the Formidable Foe
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Miriam Molina
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Post by Miriam Molina » 15 Oct 2017, 07:10

It's amazing to learn that the three authors are grandmother, mother and granddaughter. I bet it's the grandmother who did the drawings, haha.

Seriously, I think that fact should be played up. There are just so many things that families can do together. Strengthening the family is vital to achieving unity in society.

Thanks for your lovely review, Izesicle.

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Post by Izesicle » 15 Oct 2017, 09:23

Thanks, Miriam. I agree absolutely. I like thinking that the authors' familial bonding will reflect on the readers too, as they enjoy the book.

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Post by Gingerbo0ks » 15 Oct 2017, 14:18

Thanks for your comments on my review of "Puffy" Izesicle, I enjoyed reading yours too. I liked your critique of the language and formatting used.
"One must always be careful of books, and what is inside them, for words have the power to change us.”
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Post by Izesicle » 17 Oct 2017, 13:53

You're very welcome, gingerbooks. You have a lovely quote as your signature

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Post by Gingerbo0ks » 19 Oct 2017, 01:36

Izesicle wrote:You're very welcome, gingerbooks. You have a lovely quote as your signature
Thank you :) It's from The Infernal Devices series by Cassandra Clare.
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Post by Job Njoroge » 20 Oct 2017, 13:54

That is a great book with moral teachings though I would personally have a problem with talking cats
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Izesicle
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Post by Izesicle » 20 Oct 2017, 18:30

Job Njoroge wrote:That is a great book with moral teachings though I would personally have a problem with talking cats
LOL, I see. The cat doesn't talk in this book though, it's written in a third person point of view.

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Post by juliusotinyo » 21 Oct 2017, 03:31

Miriam Molina wrote:It's amazing to learn that the three authors are grandmother, mother and granddaughter. I bet it's the grandmother who did the drawings, haha.

Seriously, I think that fact should be played up. There are just so many things that families can do together. Strengthening the family is vital to achieving unity in society.

Thanks for your lovely review, Izesicle.
Funny... but I agree. Can't bring myself to read this book yet. Great review Izesicle

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Post by jeminah28 » 21 Oct 2017, 05:59

You have a nice observation of this book. I am currently reading this book. Thank you for your honest review. Nice one. I enjoyed reading it, too.
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Post by Alicnim » 21 Oct 2017, 12:37

Perhaps a great accompaniment to my kids library. Great review.
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Post by Kelebogile Mbangi » 24 Oct 2017, 11:48

What a great tool to teach children about the dangers of straying from home. i enjoyed your review, thank you for it. :)
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Post by Shirazi Cat » 25 Oct 2017, 08:54

Hi

Thanks for the interesting review. I agree there is a problem in the text with the use of quotes. Personally, I couldn't see why "kitty" itself should be marked this way. The animal in question is not a kitty, and using quotes doesn't change this fact. It simply shouldn't have been called that. I also agree with your observations about the lineation. It tends to impede what rhythm the verse might otherwise have achieved, rather than enhance it. I am afraid I would disagree, finally, with your view on the book's "message." Is distrusting everything a good thing to teach children? I am not a parent myself, so maybe that has something to do with it, but still... I don't think that living in constant fear of the unknown is a very healthy attitude. In general, my assessment of the book was less charitable than yours, but there you go... Thanks again.
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Post by Arushi Singh » 27 Oct 2017, 08:14

this review is beautiful! i loved it. it gives me a greater perspective. :D
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Post by Izesicle » 31 Oct 2017, 16:26

jeminah28 wrote:You have a nice observation of this book. I am currently reading this book. Thank you for your honest review. Nice one. I enjoyed reading it, too.
Many thanks, Jeminah!

-- 05 Nov 2017, 08:47 --
Alicnim wrote:Perhaps a great accompaniment to my kids library. Great review.
why not? Check it out! :)

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