2 out of 4 stars
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Sammie the Salmon by Debra Kline is a children’s picture book about a tiny salmon fish. Sammie is born prematurely, and his parents are afraid that they could easily hurt him because he is so small. They have to learn to help Sammie make it through his childhood without letting their fear get in the way of Sammie having the experiences that all kids want to have.
I felt compelled to try this book after reading about the author’s experiences raising her premature son, Sam. I really appreciated how the book reflected many parents’ fears about hurting their tiny, premature babies. These fears were communicated in a kid-friendly way, and I think this book could help parents discuss these issues with their kids. The illustrations by Lynda Farrington Wilson are also a positive addition to the book, as they show how tiny Sammie is. I appreciated how she managed to communicate so much emotion on the faces of Sammie’s fish parents.
Although I think this book comes from a great place and has a valuable lesson to teach, I also believe that it could be improved. The lines are meant to rhyme, but the rhyme scheme is inconsistent, making it difficult to read aloud. The rhythm is also not very solid, and it seemed like too many words were crammed into some lines while too few were placed in others. The visual layout of the book could also use some editing, as I found that some pages felt bare. Often, there would be a few lines of plain text on a blank, white page, while the next page would have an illustration and no text. I strongly preferred the pages that contained both an illustration and text, and I think kids would too.
Overall, I would rate this book 2 out of 4 stars. I think this author has a great message to communicate, and the illustrator has done a wonderful job bringing the characters to life. Although I didn’t find any errors in the book, I chose to remove two stars for the inconsistencies in the writing and the issues with formatting in the book.
I would recommend this book for parents of kids ages four to six. It would be especially good for parents of babies born prematurely. However, I really think that the book requires further editing and revision which would help it more effectively communicate its wonderful message.
Sammie the Salmon
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