4 out of 4 stars
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Woodrat decides that the nighttime is a great time to gather food for his family. Unluckily, he runs across Coyote. Coyote wants to eat Woodrat, so he must come up with a way to outsmart Coyote. Will Woodrat find a way to escape Coyote's clutches?
Don't Throw Me in the Cholla Patch is written by Marc Severson and illustrated by Francesco Orazzini. The targeted audience for the book is ages 10 to 12 years old. The book is written in the third person perspective with an omniscient narrator.
Some of the words are advanced for that age level. For instance, "larder" is used, but the author has a definition for that word at the end. There is also a pronunciation guide. The only problem is with a mountain called Baboquivari, as it is not listed in the guide. While it is a real place, children not familiar with the area won't know how to say it. However, that was the only word I questioned, which makes it a small issue.
The illustrations in the book are enjoyable and fun. I especially loved the expressions on the characters' faces. It brought the story to life. The drawings, though, were all of a similar color. I don't think this was necessarily a drawback because the setting doesn't change much throughout the book. There are still plenty of interesting features in the illustrations. It is worth noting, however, that they aren't as bright or as vibrant as other books.
The book was formatted with text on one page and the drawings immediately opposite. The plot accompanied the illustrations perfectly and accented the story; I know children would love looking at the pictures while reading the book. There seemed to be a good balance of words to pictures.
I appreciated, as well, that the author discusses how he came up with this story. We learn more about the woodrat which is also known as a packrat. This enhances the educational value of the book. It's interesting to see that the author compares this story to that of The Briar Patch, and I must say, I do see the similarities.
I thought this book was fun and clever. I found only one minor error and believe this to be a very teachable book for young ones. For those reasons, I give Don't Throw Me in the Cholla Patch 4 out of 4 stars. I recommend it to parents and educators looking for a fun, yet educational, book.
Don't Throw Me in the Cholla Patch
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