Official Review: Grandmother Fran's Accidental Arsonist

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Official Review: Grandmother Fran's Accidental Arsonist

Post by Juliana_Isabella »

[Following is an official review of "Grandmother Fran's Accidental Arsonist" by Carol Moxham Boot.]
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2 out of 4 stars
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Grandmother Fran’s Accidental Arsonist by Carol Moxham Boot is a children’s chapter book about the Plum family. Del, the father, and Betty, the mother, have been fighting recently, and their children, Mitchell and Maeda, have begun to notice. Grandma Fran agrees to keep the kids at her house for a little while until things at home calm down, but Mitchell is also experiencing issues at school, where he and his classmates face bullying.

This book covers a variety of lessons that would be appropriate for the target audience. The author includes information about racism, family troubles, and other issues that children may face. I appreciated that the author covered these topics in original ways, like when she talked about the contributions of Native Americans being erased from history. However, it often felt like the book’s plot was interrupted so that the author could insert a lesson. Then the story would pick back up after the lesson was over. I would have preferred that the lessons be incorporated naturally as the story progressed and that they be taught by characters within the story rather than by the narrator.

Another issue that interrupted the flow of the plot was the author’s writing style. She writes using strings of sentence fragments. For example, the paragraph that introduces Mitchell’s friend Simon begins with, “And Simon, who was over the top polite, especially when there were any girls around. A little bit more on the quiet side, like Mitchell. But beyond brilliant, at anything scientific or historical.” (Page 23). Although sentence fragments can be used effectively to add emphasis to a phrase, they were overused in this book and made the story feel choppy. I also found a variety of errors in the book that made me believe it was not professionally edited. Finally, there were random instances of the author using first-person narration even though the narrator was never identified as a character within the story.

Overall, I would rate this book 2 out of 4 stars. It contains an interesting story with valuable lessons, but the way in which that story is told forced me to remove two stars. The plot doesn’t flow because it is constantly interrupted by sentence fragments and inserted lessons.

I would recommend this book for children ages seven to nine. It contains an original story with events and lessons that are applicable to many children’s lives today, but it could use a professional editor to fix the errors and help the author create a more cohesive narrative.

Grandmother Fran's Accidental Arsonist
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Post by Cynthia_Oluchi »

Such overuse of sentence fragment could really interrupt the flow of children's books as this one. However, the storyline appears to make an interesting read. Thanks for reviewing!

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Post by En+kay »

Quite a number of topics was handled by the author broadening the minds of the young readers.
Conflicts in the homes needs professional help so as not to breed children who would be bullied by the larger society.

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Post by Joshua Jose »

I really never like it when many fragments are used in one sentence. It is worse when the book is meant for children as it leaves them more confused. Thank you for pointing this out in your review.

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Post by FatimHK »

The younger demographic of readers in this generation may take well developed lessons from books like these. While the diversity of topics is vividly intriguing, it may be harder to process with sentence fragments. Your review provides a detailed overview of the book and its conflicts itself. Great work.

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Post by fadjei »

It's unfortunate that this book has some grammar issues, especially considering it's to be read by young impressionable readers. However, it's great that it tackles topics such as bullying and the overall themes and messages seem like they would be great to tell to kids.
Thanks for the review!

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Post by Cherie Bastock »

The title is quite intriguing and the story sounds interesting, but the sentence fragments could really put off a reader. As I'm attempting to write my own children's novel, I may still read this for comparison. Thanks for your detailed review.

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