3 out of 4 stars
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Rusty Goes to Water World is a delightful children's picture book by Joe Fisher. The story begins with a brief recap from the prequel; readers learn that the once-forgotten fire engine has endeared himself to the people of Someport-by-the-Sea after saving "their summer in a most unusual way." The second book of the series picks up the following spring. The townspeople want to honor Rusty, and Mayor Himself comes up with a great idea. Meanwhile, the second-grade students from Sea Stone Elementary decide to invite Rusty to their field trip to Water World. Everyone is so excited, but things don't quite go according to plan. Will Rusty save the day again? Follow his latest adventure to find out!
Illustrator Jaye Boswell brings the personalities of Rusty and the townspeople to life through her amusing artwork. The book teaches young readers ranging from ages four through eight about friendship, gratitude, problem-solving, and teamwork. Thanks to the introductory recap, the story can stand on its own. However, Rusty's latest adventure is likely to spark interest in the first and planned third books in the series.
I particularly like the story's nonsensical style of creativity; a town called "Someport-by-the-Sea" and characters like "Mayor Himself" give the picture book a fun quality that will delight young children. Likewise, the whimsical illustrations feature intricate details allowing readers to discover something new each time they turn the pages. For instance, one might initially notice the colorful clothing of the different townspeople. However, a second glance reveals a house with a door, windows, and steps resembling a smiling face. The position of the tree next to it almost looks like the house is waving.
On the other hand, I realize the play on pronouns was intentional, but the name inconsistencies "Mayor Himself" and "Mayor Yourself" could confuse children in the targeted age range. While the book has a professional appearance, I noted several minor errors. Since children of all ages need to see correct grammar and punctuation modeled in picture books, I cannot award it a perfect rating.
Overall, I rate Rusty Goes to Water World 3 out of 4 stars. The picture book will entertain the targeted audience, and I also recommend it to parents, teachers, and grandparents to read aloud to their little ones.
Rusty Goes to Water World
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