2 out of 4 stars
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Rullunder the Imagerater by R.M. Nelson is a children’s book about Old Rullunder, the only imagerater in his town. Rullunder has served as the town’s imagerater for many years and is beginning to look forward to retirement. His impending retirement puts the town’s mayor in a frenzy. Rullunder has never hired an apprentice or assistant who could replace him, which means the town will be left without an imagerater when Rullunder retires. The mayor finds himself moping in the town’s park where a happy girl is playing. This girl manages to rid the mayor of his worries when she provides a clever solution to his quandary.
I found the story line and conclusion absolutely wonderful. The book was easy to read and all the different forms of the word “imagerate” should be quite fun for children to attempt pronouncing without getting tongue-tied. Nelson provides an unexpected and clever solution to the mayor's dilemma. I thought I knew how the book would end, but I was pleasantly surprised to discover my assumption was incorrect.
In addition to a wonderful story line, this book has lessons in unexpected places. It can demonstrate to children that solutions can come from places that may not always be obvious. Rullunder the Imagerater also teaches that all people have ideas and talents to contribute. Finally, it teaches that children should be encouraged to develop their talents. These lessons are not at the surface of the story, but any parents looking for a book with a lesson should be pleased with Rullunder the Imagerater.
The story line is the only thing I enjoyed about this children’s book. I have quite a few criticisms about the illustrations. About one-third of the pages depict exactly the same illustrations. They simply display the text and two yellow squares, one with a red lightning bolt and one with a question mark and exclamation point. These pages are very bland and unenjoyable. Second, the pages that have full illustrations look like poorly laid out PowerPoint slides. The text is in white boxes placed on top of the illustrations. Had I actually liked the illustrations, it would have really taken away from them. However, my third complaint is with the illustrations themselves. Not only do they look like they were created by an amateur, they are also not well-matched with the corresponding text. For example, the mayor encounters a happy little girl, but the illustration depicts a big-eyed girl gaping, not looking at all happy. There is very little imagination depicted in the illustrations of a book about an imagerater, which I find ironic. Even the cover art is completely unappealing with half the cover taken up by the title in a yellow block.
Nelson’s lack of imagination is further demonstrated in his failure to give names to the town, mayor, and girl. There is no personalization to any of the three. They are referenced throughout the entire story by those three words: town, mayor, and girl. I predict this would be a frustrating characteristic of the story for parents and children who might want to discuss the book after reading it together. It would have been preferable to have the town, mayor, and girl properly named.
I give Rullunder the Imagerater 2 out of 4 stars. Although I enjoyed the story, the illustrations need to be completely redone. Additionally, for only 27 pages of content with only two to four sentences on most pages, there were quite a few typos. I recommend keeping the text and redoing everything else. This is the perfect, fun story for children between the ages of 4 and 10, but I don't think the illustrations will provide as much enjoyment as the plot.
Rullunder the Imagerater
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