3 out of 4 stars
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Chubby Wubbles: A Ferret’s Tale by M. J. Abrams is a children’s picture book about Chubby, a ferret. Chubby and his best friend, Coco, live together with their human companion, Mark, but one day, Coco is suddenly gone. Chubby ends up moving to a new home with Mark’s brother, Jeffrey. Jeffery and Chubby share a very special bond with each other, but Chubby still misses his ferret friend, Coco. Every chance Chubby gets he goes looking for Chubby. Unfortunately, his curiosity may get him in trouble when he goes looking for her beyond the confines of Jeffrey’s house.
Chubby Wubbles is a sweet tale about friendship, family and dealing with big changes in life. There were multiple lessons incorporated in this story that will make great talking points for young children and adults. Children with pets in the family will find Chubby’s story especially relatable. Although I’ve never had a pet ferret, I could relate a lot of Chubby and Jeffrey’s relationship to my own experience with my dog.
Unlike most children’s books, Chubby Wubbles incorporates real-life photographs instead of illustrations to highlight the story. Each page includes one or two photographs of Chubby and his environment. These photographs add a sense of realism to the story, which will be helpful to younger children who may not know what a ferret is.
The only downside to this story is the lack of differentiation in the pictures. Although there are a lot of cute and interesting pictures that will hold the attention of young readers, the pictures themselves do not tell a story. Much of the story deals with Chubby moving to a new home with a new owner and the incredibly strong bond the two form; however, there are no pictures of Chubby with his human companion. Young children may have trouble understanding the relationship between Chubby and Jeffrey since it is never depicted in the pictures. Further, unlike in an illustration, it is difficult to convey a ferret’s emotions via a photograph. This meant sometimes it was difficult to tell if Chubby was feeling happy or sad simply by looking at the photograph on the page. This isn’t a book with a story that young children could easily understand just by looking at the pictures.
Although the real-life photographs used in lieu of illustrations are incredibly adorable and add realism to Chubby’s story, the lack of a full story told through the pictures alone led me to rate this book 3 out of 4 stars instead of a full 4. Chubby’s story is fairly simplistic, so this book would be best suited for young children, ages approximately four to seven, and I recommend this book be read with a parent, as some younger children may need additional explanation for some concepts.
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