2 out of 4 stars
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What keeps the Earth in a place by Vasyl Tsybulko is a children's book of about 25 printed pages. The reading level is stated as preschool through 3rd grade. With the vocabulary used, I believe this is accurate, though I would stick to the earlier end of that scale.
The Earth is on the back of a turtle who is held up by elephants standing on the backs of whales. It has been this way for a long time. The wise men are concerned, though. What happens if the whales want to swim in the ocean? What if the turtles get tired? What will happen to the Earth? Read along and find out what the wise men decide to do.
There are several elements that must come together to make a good children's story. The first is the illustrations. In this story, the illustrations are well done. They are hand-drawn and go along well with the story. Each page is an illustration with the words off to one side which helps to hold the attention of young readers. This also makes the book appropriate for reading aloud as it gives the children something to focus on while the story is told.
The next element that is important is the plot. The story must be understandable to young, developing minds. Unfortunately, that's where this story falls short. At the end of the book, I was left wondering what the point of the story was. I'm afraid that if I can't figure it out, a child certainly wouldn't be able to. Also, I'm afraid that the book might be taken too literally by children. I'm concerned that they would think that the Earth really used to be held up by a turtle.
The last thing that I would say is absolutely necessary is correct grammar. I believe that it is important when children are just beginning to explore the world of language and books that everything they see be correct. It's important to build on a firm foundation even from a young age. Therefore, I'm overally critical when it comes to children's books and grammar. Sadly, even the title is incorrect in this book. The title really should be What keeps the Earth in place. The "a" is unnecessary. On the very first page of the story, there is an "of" missing. Continuing on, commas are used in place of periods. All of these errors could have been fixed by a good editor.
Overall, I have to rate What keeps the Earth in a place 2 out of 4 stars. It earns 1 star only for the lovely and entertaining illustrations. Regrettably, I can't give it any more stars due to the poor story and grammatical errors. Some children will enjoy the drawings, but I would urge parents and teachers to check if the story is appropriate first.
What keeps the Earth in a place.
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