Official Review: Out Loud by Luz Agudelo

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Official Review: Out Loud by Luz Agudelo

Post by CataclysmicKnight » 29 Apr 2017, 16:13

[Following is an official review of "Out Loud" by Luz Agudelo.]
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4 out of 4 stars
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Out Loud by Luz Agudelo is an illustrated rhyming book with an interesting look at bullying. Two friends, one male and one female, are hanging out at the beach having fun when they hear a distressed bird calling out. They hurry over to find out what's going on but discover something far worse than they could have imagined - a trash monster! Its name is Skull and it's a snake-like creature made up of all sorts of trash that's terrorizing a poor seagull. This bully is far worse than the typical real-life bully with a flaming skull for a head and razor sharp claws. It's up to these two innocent, frightened kids to save the day!

Bullying is an epidemic in our schools and has been since before even I was in school (and that was quite a long time ago!). The problem is that teaching kids to fight back against bullying always treads a fine line between silliness that would never work and turning one's kid into a bully themselves. What I appreciated here was that Out Loud walks that line very well - it shows kids who are initially scared to stand up to the bully become confident, working together and demanding that the bully stop without insulting or physically fighting.

I also really liked the subtle nod toward polluting our beaches and oceans. A trash monster couldn't possibly exist on a beach if people didn't leave garbage all over! This point also comes into play later when Skull explains how he became a bully. This then plays into the concept that, just like superheroes, every bully has an "origin story" of what made them into the bully they are.

An illustrated book is only as good as its art, and I really loved the art in Out Loud. Each page uses notebook paper as a background and the art looks great on it. The book is illustrated by Andres Restrepo and there's even a credit for "edited illustrations" by Conzumo. It's clear the book has been touched by numerous hands and it shines because of it. Especially due to the "villain" bully, it felt as much like a comic book as a kids book.

The other main piece of the book is its rhyming. The story is broken up into free-verse stanzas that use all sorts of rhymes. Some rhyme at the end of each line, some use multiple sets and others play with in-line rhyme. The numerous types of rhyming also make the book effective for teaching the concept of rhyme. As with most rhyming writing there are several lines that feel a bit forced, but for the most part the rhymes succeed. Most importantly, though, it definitely gets the story across.

The book's Amazon page suggests it for 8-12 year olds, and I'd definitely agree with that. There is the occasional "big" word - assembled and distressed, for example - but it should be readable for most kids in that age range, especially if it's read out loud to them as the title suggests. I highly recommend it to any kid in that age range to learn about bullying, rhyming and the importance of taking care of the environment. I'd rate it 3.5 stars if I could due to the few instances of forced rhyming, but officially I rate it 4 out of 4 stars.

Out Loud
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Post by Amagine » 30 Apr 2017, 06:52

This sounds like an amazing book that I need to add to my bookshelf! The first thing I love about it is how addresses bullying in an interesting way. The second thing is that it is a illustrated book for middle grade children. With the exception of graphic novels, illustrated books aren't usually written for the older ages any more. It's great that this one is.

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Post by csimmons032 » 30 Apr 2017, 10:12

This sounds like an interesting book for kids to read. It sounds like it teaches a good message towards bullying, and I have never heard of a book for this age that teaches about the pollution on our beaches and in the ocean. You did a great job with this review, and I thank you for sharing this.
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Post by Chrys Brobbey » 30 Apr 2017, 16:32

The review shows how good the book is, that makes me want it on my to-read list. The topic of the book, bullying, is very relevant, and it does a double-take by adding on sea pollution. A very good contribution to society by the author.
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Post by Lebow » 01 May 2017, 06:01

The review makes one want to have the book out Loud. The topic of bullying is a serious one but obviously it's covered in a very down to earth and constructive manner. Well done.

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Post by Shreyoshi Sen » 01 May 2017, 06:08

I really want to read the book now. Your review has got me all the more interested in this. This book is very good for kids I guess and I do want to purchase it for my cousin.
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Post by greenstripedgiraffe » 01 May 2017, 10:55

This sounds like a top-notch book. My only question is if 8-12-year olds would really enjoy this style. Usually, by that age, kids are done with the rhyming books and simple art.
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Post by Kitkat3 » 02 May 2017, 01:45

Wow, great art and such a unique take on bulling and environmental conservation! I love rhyming books as well. This sounds like a must read. Great review!

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Post by gali » 19 May 2017, 06:29

Bullying is indeed an epidemic and it is good that there are books addressing this issue. I once reviewed a book that addressed this issue as well, but this sounds a bit different. Teaching about the environment as well is a nice touch. Thank you!
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Post by hsimone » 19 May 2017, 06:40

Great review! Yes, bullying has been around for so long and it's so sad, but it's awesome that there are authors out there speaking about the subject and teaching children what to do in these situations. I like that the author also touches upon taking care of the environment. Thank you for sharing and congratulations to the author for receiving such a positive review!
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Post by ChillAndRead » 19 May 2017, 07:12

Thank you for the review!!! Bullying is a phenomenon that requires a lot of attention by everyone!
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Post by Sassylibrarian » 19 May 2017, 07:25

I read the book and found that this could have a great message about the environment and bullying. I was a little put off by some of the vocabulary. I can't imagine that my grandson would even understand some of it due to the some of the language used. The pictures seem to be for younger children but the story seems to be for older ones. It is a great idea but not my favorite.

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Post by GCamer » 19 May 2017, 07:58

Sounds like a nice book to teach values (plus rhymes) to kids. Thanks for the intensive review.

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Post by godreaujea » 19 May 2017, 08:06

I really like the art and I think this book does a good job at addressing an important issue for kids. Awesome review and congrats on BOTD!

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Post by Scerakor » 19 May 2017, 08:08

This is a great topic to be addressed by a children's book and one of those that would do well on the bookcases of classes throughout our nations. I agree that the artwork works out just right for the audience and the style. Thanks for the review.

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