3 out of 4 stars
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Charles McCheese And The Childhood News Network is a children’s book written by Emma Jean. In this book, we follow 11-year-old Charles McCheese and his crew (Thea, Nicholas, and Lilly) in their adventures in search of stories that will increase The Childhood News Network's ratings. The network has only two rules: they report events that happen only in Southwest Florida, and they keep the adults out “because grown-ups give the worst news.”
The story starts with Thea, Lilly, and Nicholas reporting from their assigned areas. After the day’s work, the crew is supposed to report back to the studio to plan their next story, and they do, only that Nicholas arrives with Naveen, a kid he met at his location. Naveen had always been a fan of the network. He wants to be a part of the network and implies that viewers have grown bored of the network, advising they cover stories from all over the world. Naveen also says that not all adults give the worst news. Will Charles McCheese be willing to break all the rules in blind faith with what Naveen suggests? Will Charles give Naveen a chance in the network? Do they get a record-breaking story?
While reading this book, it becomes apparent that there are lessons for children to take home. I learned that “we achieve great things by not limiting ourselves.” I think lessons are an important part of every children’s book, and I’m glad that Jean's publication fulfilled that criteria seamlessly. Also, I liked that this book asks thought-provoking questions, and I’m sure children would get their brains working. For example, why do we get served tacos every Tuesday in elementary school? Additionally, I think this book is a subtle way of introducing children to the intricacies of journalism, as well as some of the challenges journalists face in the course of their job. I applaud the writer for a job well done.
There were some aspects of this book I didn’t quite like. First, I feel the lack of illustrations makes this book less appreciable for children. I say this because I believe that pictures are an integral part of every children's book, as it not only makes kids refreshed while they read but also makes them get the correct picture of what is being discussed. Moreover, I think pictures were required in this novel, especially when the author talked about fighter jets. I don’t think children would know what they look like, and an illustration of these kinds of jets would be welcome.
The second thing I think this book should have included was the outcome their concluding adventures had on their ratings. As it is, that information is left to the reader to deduce on their own. I think it’s important to tell the story exhaustively when writing a children’s book, as it should be used as a tool for learning.
Nonetheless, this 115-page book is professionally edited, as I found no errors throughout its text. Because of the lesson the book seeks to teach, coupled with the efficiency of the editorial team, I rate this novel 3 out of 4 stars. The one-star deduction is a result of the reservations I earlier discussed. I recommend Charles McCheese And The Childhood News Network to children around the ages of 8 and 13. Young adults that enjoy adventures may also find the book interesting, as it could easily pass for an adventure fiction story.
Charles McCheese and The Childhood News Network
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