Review of The Tale of Meadow Grove

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AvidBibliophile
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Latest Review: The Tale of Meadow Grove by Lynn D. Wheeler

Review of The Tale of Meadow Grove

Post by AvidBibliophile »

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "The Tale of Meadow Grove" by Lynn D. Wheeler.]
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4 out of 4 stars
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The Tale of Meadow Grove is a rhyming children’s book by Lynn D. Wheeler, but it has an underlying theme of oppressive danger. Five-year-old twin sisters Chloe and Emma live in an eerie place called Meadow Grove. Due to their dysfunctional home life, they are in desperate search of a coping mechanism that will provide them a place of emotional refuge. Each night, their stuffed animals transform into friendly, magical creatures that offer them guidance and protection, so they use imaginary escapism to find the strength they need to face each subsequent day.

They hide from a villainous character named Mr. Jingles, who lurks around in the darkest hours before dawn, turning day into night by devouring the sun. Legends warn children that he will come to get them if they are found home alone, and the storyline would suggest that this character either represents their father or their stepfather. His angry moods are accompanied by a foul odor, which I assume is probably alcohol, but the character is shown only as a looming black shadow that resembles a towering monster. He carries with him a jangling set of keys and glares at their sleeping mother before often entering the girls’ bedroom “out of instinct.”

The illustrations depict starlit skies, ravens, spiders, cobwebs, and skeleton keys, and the text is typed in a playful font. A leopard, tiger, elephant, lion, wolf, monkey, ostrich, dolphin, and polar bear encourage the girls to find their fearlessness, and the twins find warmth in the chivalrous embrace of a boa constrictor. I appreciate that all the animals eventually encourage the girls to seek outside help, urging them to find a precious trust outside their fragile family bond.

The story is 43 pages long, and I only encountered a small handful of errors while reading. These errors are the only aspects of the book I disliked. For every page of text, there is a corresponding full-page illustration, so this tale can easily be read in one sitting, but there are some words present that would likely be too challenging for kids under the age of 8. Phrases like “keep vigil” and “make haste” occur amidst terms like “aftermath,” “plight,” and “threshold,” so this story might only be easily comprehended by certain reading groups.

Throughout this story, the girls’ feelings of sadness, fear, anxiety, and helpless vulnerability slowly become courage, strength, bravery, and fearless perseverance. The animals offer them unconditional love, soft-spoken reassurances, and a kind-hearted tenderness that they are missing from their real lives. I feel this book would be appropriate for children going through similarly difficult times. It shows young readers that creative imaginations often give kids the power to overcome challenging circumstances, but I’m just not sure that I would readily recommend this one to kids who have been sheltered from such abuse and domestic trauma. Far too many unnecessary questions would potentially be raised, but some readers might not see the villain as more than just an imaginary monster, so it’s hard to say what effect it might truly have on an innocent and naïve audience. Unfortunately, some young children will live through exact circumstances like these, and some might even suffer molestation in their own homes, so I commend authors who are willing to shine a light on such issues.

In this dysfunctional household, secrets and silence become survival strategies. These children associate safety with the ever-faithful brightness of dawn. Welcome mats and home-sweet-home decorations disguise the unspeakable evils that exist behind closed doors, and as the girls head off to school, their classroom daydreams blend with visions of their nightly escapes. With sorrow, they realize their house is not a home, and they crave the freedom that their after-dark escapades bring. Once Mr. Jingles appears, implied horrors repeatedly unfold, but these girls try their best to persevere in the face of evil. I award this book a rating of 4 out of 4 stars. Wheeler describes this book as “a poetic cautionary tale but also one of empowerment, bravery, and survival in response to adversity,” and I think that is a very apt description of what this complex title provides.

******
The Tale of Meadow Grove
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Post by Kavita Shah »

It's a reality which exists and children are enveloped in fear. This book can be helpful and kids who might have faced something similar can relate and understand that they don't have to be afraid and that they will be saved.

You've written a great review!
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Latest Review: The Tale of Meadow Grove by Lynn D. Wheeler

Post by AvidBibliophile »

Kavita Shah wrote: 12 Oct 2021, 06:06 It's a reality which exists and children are enveloped in fear. This book can be helpful and kids who might have faced something similar can relate and understand that they don't have to be afraid and that they will be saved.

You've written a great review!
Thank you so much, and I agree with you in every way. It is sadly a daily reality for so many kids out there, whether it’s spoken about or not, so I commend this author for being able to create a story around it that inspires hope and instills courage. It was a unique form of “animal therapy,” but these girls found such comfort in the kind words of all of their animal friends!
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Post by RetiredOBNurse »

What an intriguing tale this must be. I agree with you in regards to only a select group of children should read this as it certainly sounds as if it addresses issues that are of a mature nature that hopefully most children would not comprehend or even be exposed to. I commend the author in regards to giving the unfortunate children that will fully relate to this tale by giving them the courage to speak out and persevere. Excellent review!
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Post by AvidBibliophile »

RetiredOBNurse wrote: 12 Oct 2021, 12:27 What an intriguing tale this must be. I agree with you in regards to only a select group of children should read this as it certainly sounds as if it addresses issues that are of a mature nature that hopefully most children would not comprehend or even be exposed to. I commend the author in regards to giving the unfortunate children that will fully relate to this tale by giving them the courage to speak out and persevere. Excellent review!
Thank you so much, and while all readers might interpret and perceive separate parts of this story in different ways, it still aims to bring awareness to a difficult topic. The implied mature themes keep this title from being a “happy” children’s book in the traditional sense, but for those kids who do understand the same sorts of fears and anxieties and needs for silence, this one speaks volumes. So many relatable emotions and concerns are present throughout, so I hope the kids who really do need to read it will somehow get a chance to. 🌅
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Post by Rashawn Carter »

This story sounds very intriguing! Chole and Emma sound like very brave girls and I'm glad their animal companions convinced them to get help. Thank you for another wonderful review! :D
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Post by AvidBibliophile »

Rashawn Carter wrote: 12 Oct 2021, 14:11 This story sounds very intriguing! Chole and Emma sound like very brave girls and I'm glad their animal companions convinced them to get help. Thank you for another wonderful review! :D
Brave girls indeed, and while their imaginations kept them protectively detached, they still found their voices through the animal souls they brought to life in their dreams. Thank you for your kind and supportive comment! 🙏🏽
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Post by Niens Now »

This book can be of immense value to children that experience abuse. Thanks for a great review.
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Post by Ellylion »

I believe this tale is not only for children but for all those lost in the dark. Thank you for this amazing review!
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Post by C Janet »

We are used to happy stories for kids, but not all children have it happy. I hope this story reaches those who need it the most, and that it gives them courage to ask for the help they need. Thanks for the wonderful review!
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Latest Review: The Tale of Meadow Grove by Lynn D. Wheeler

Post by AvidBibliophile »

Niens Now wrote: 13 Oct 2021, 01:57 This book can be of immense value to children that experience abuse. Thanks for a great review.
I wholeheartedly agree with your assessment, and I hope those children will somehow get the chance to read it in their times of darkness. Thank you. 💙
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Post by AvidBibliophile »

Ellylion wrote: 13 Oct 2021, 08:38 I believe this tale is not only for children but for all those lost in the dark. Thank you for this amazing review!
You are very right about that. Wounded souls of any age could find comfort in the shared sense of survival and sympathetic understanding that's presented in this book. Thank you for the kind words! 📖
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Post by AvidBibliophile »

C Janet wrote: 13 Oct 2021, 14:21 We are used to happy stories for kids, but not all children have it happy. I hope this story reaches those who need it the most, and that it gives them courage to ask for the help they need. Thanks for the wonderful review!
So very right you are. Life is not all smiles and rainbows for every little child out there, and those who need it the most desperately deserve to find all the strength and protection they need to graciously survive and thrive in this big, scary world. I appreciate your kind words of understanding and support about this one! 🙏🏽
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Post by Kaushiki Parihar »

This book is an absolute wonder. I love children's book and this one just impressed me; amazing story plot, illustrations, emotions. I'm definitely adding this book to my WTR shelf. Thank you for such a lovely review.
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AvidBibliophile wrote: 03 Oct 2021, 20:57
Throughout this story, the girls’ feelings of sadness, fear, anxiety, and helpless vulnerability slowly become courage, strength, bravery, and fearless perseverance. The animals offer them unconditional love, soft-spoken reassurances, and a kind-hearted tenderness that they are missing from their real lives. I feel this book would be appropriate for children going through similarly difficult times. It shows young readers that creative imaginations often give kids the power to overcome challenging circumstances, but I’m just not sure that I would readily recommend this one to kids who have been sheltered from such abuse and domestic trauma. Far too many unnecessary questions would potentially be raised, but some readers might not see the villain as more than just an imaginary monster, so it’s hard to say what effect it might truly have on an innocent and naïve audience. Unfortunately, some young children will live through exact circumstances like these, and some might even suffer molestation in their own homes, so I commend authors who are willing to shine a light on such issues.
This was exactly my concern reading this review. But, as you say, many children will think of "the bad guy" as only a monster.
Great job!
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