4 out of 4 stars
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I have read many children's books and once in a while, a children's book comes by that is a joy to read. This is such a book! "Alcapenny and Bot and the Treacherous Forest" by Andrea Leigh Youngman is a delightful and imaginative tale that will bewitch the hearts of its readers, young and old.
This gem of a story follows the story of two awesome kids who can talk to animals. Alcapenny and her brother Bot aren't your average kids, mind you. They are smarter, creative, engaging, and oh yes, tinny; they are only three-inch tall! What they lack in size, they make up for in spirit. It isn't easy being small, as one can get squashed or, heaven forbid, eaten. Luckily our protagonists use their wits to outsmart their enemies. I fell in love with them from the very first line, rooted for them and felt attached to them.
Alcapenny and Bot have a happy family life, but they are discontented with their lot. The world is full of dangers, especially for tiny people, so their loving parents keep them under tight supervision. Our protagonists, like all kids, fail to realize their vulnerability. They want to go out to explore the great outdoors and to experience some great adventures. Little do they know that they will get their wish, and much more besides.
11 year old Bot is reckless and often gets into a lot of mischief. His 13 year old sister is more level-headed than him. When opportunity arises, Bot ventures outside and tragedy strikes. His sister, who followed him to keep an eye on him, gets whisked by a passing hawk and considered to be dead by all. Well, all but our poor Bot who holds himself accountable (and rightly so) for her bitter fate. Bot hatches a plan, with the help of with his loyal friends Isabella the guinea pig and Carl the mouse, to go on a quest to look for his sister.
From her end, Alcapenny shows plenty of resourcefulness and common sense. She manages to free herself from the talons of the hawk and finds herself far away from the comforts of home. She starts a long journey home and, after a long miserable night, decides to enjoy herself and make the most of her adventure.
The story switches back and forth between the two kids and the reader follows their story with a bathed breath. During their adventures the kids will encounter both enemies and friends, will have several dangerously close brushes with death, and will learn that "no matter how little you, are family is a real big deal."
I've always enjoyed reading books featuring thumb-size people and found this book a refreshing tale. The imaginative world created by the author is fun to read and would appeal to kids and adults alike. A lively quest, quirky characters, touching situations, speaking animals and a lesson learned, make for a wonderful read.
This book is suited for younger readers as it has a grand adventure story with themes of family, friendship and love. The book also emphasizes qualities such as compassion, empathy and kindness. Kids will learn that animals have feelings as well and treat them accordingly. The language used is appropriate for young readers or for a preschooler read-aloud selection. The storyline is not so complex as to frustrate less skilled readers, but neither is it so simplistic as to bore advanced readers or their parents!
Have I mentioned that I loved this book?? In spite of the word "said" being overused at times, it was a sweet and fun read. I highly recommend this book and rate it 4 out of 4 stars! I hope this book will be translated to other languages and I am sure it will be a hit! This book is the first of a series and I am looking forward to the next installment! Kudos to the author for a well written book!
Alcapenny and Bot and the Treacherous Forest
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