1 out of 4 stars
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Sid and Portia: Winning Together by Scott D. Mcdaniel is a children's book following Sid, Portia, and their friends in comic book style. Generally, each set of three frames tells a different story about the characters; however, some are longer and a few shorter. Interspersed with these comics are games to allow for participation. There are some picture "find its," mazes, a word search, and games the children can play with their friends.
I wish I could tell you more about the exploits of the characters, but, quite honestly, I'm not sure there was a point to any of them. The title seems to come from a race that Sid and Portia participate in together. Unfortunately, there are three frames telling about it followed by many other short snippets about other irrelevant items. It didn't flow, so it was easy to get lost. If I couldn't follow the story, I'm not convinced a child could.
Worse still, I never felt like I got to know Sid, Portia, or their friends. Everyone is introduced in one big drawing at the start of the book, but that's it. From there we jump straight into short stories. There was a better way to handle the introduction so that we learn a little more about each person.
I did, however, like the games. I think it's a fabulous idea to get children involved with the book. Yet, these could have been thought out better. The first "find it" has the reader looking for a baby doll and a dolly. What's the difference? It also has children searching for a boom box. Would they even know what that is? In addition, there was a game to play with a friend called "Duckship Lazer War." While I understood how to play the game, I didn't quite understand how you won. On the other side, the word search is fun, and the second and third "find its" are easier to play.
There was also a formatting issue with the book on the Kindle App. The games are right side up, but the comic sections are sideways. In order to read the book, you must lock the app. Then, it's necessary to keep turning your phone to alternately read the comics or the games. It's doable but not ideal.
Furthermore, while there wasn't an overabundance of errors, there were more than I like seeing in a children's book. In what I would consider the prologue, the author twice uses leaned instead of learned. Necklace is misspelled within the story itself, and there's a missing period. At the end, there are some sentences that don't start with capital letters. An editor could fix many of the problems with this book.
The last item that I feel needs addressing is the mixed message the author sends. In one of the cartoons, a character is getting robbed. It states that the friends helped her out of this sticky situation. Then, in small print, it says violence is never the answer and that this was solved by everyone going out to dinner. I understand where the author is coming from, but it doesn't make sense. Violence isn't the answer, but if you're getting robbed, going to dinner together isn't going to work. Perhaps he could have used this to introduce the police, telling kids how they help out in these situations.
To sum up, the book has potential, but it has not been realized. This story isn't ready for an audience yet. Therefore, I have no choice but to rate Sid and Portia: Winning Together 1 out of 4 stars. If the author puts more work and thought into this one along with having it professionally edited, I would gladly change my mind. As it is, though, I just can't recommend this to any audience.
Sid and Portia: Winning Together
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