2 out of 4 stars
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He heard the voices of men. To Kiki’s surprise, a glowing cigarette falls to the ground under the oak tree as the men walk away. Author Chika Echebiri tells the tale of clever blackbirds and more in The Family of Blackbirds and Other Stories.
The first story in this collection is a fable about the life of a family of blackbirds. Kiki has a dream that warns of coming danger to the family. Next, Zizi learns to work through a personality flaw that saddened her dear friend. Later, Gerda and her father find a valuable ring. The two quickly decided to return the ring safely to the owner, but surprisingly, this proves to be more difficult than they had planned. Later still, a mysterious illness terrifies a king. Emeka sets out in hopes that his bravery will restore peace in the community. Even later, Susan learns to cope with the anxieties of attending school for the first time.
The author expresses the hope that the important life lessons conveyed in the book will delight and inspire young readers. The manner in which these lessons are taught in this book are in no way in alignment with the way I teach and raise my children. I do not believe that name calling is an effective way to instill strength and good morals in a child. I found the author’s use of words such as “chatterbox” and “crybaby” to be counterproductive. In my opinion, parenting with name calling is step one in bully creation.
The many grammar errors were such a disappointment. These errors were a constant distraction and disrupted the flow of the story. These mistakes include missing, misplaced, and misspelled words. This e-book would benefit from professional editing and formatting.
Illustrations are a vital part of any children’s book. The illustrations in this book were provided by storyblocks and pixabay. These illustrations lack the quality of a published children’s book. Most of the pictures were loosely-related stock photos. The remaining pictures were photos of sketches. These sketches were lovely, but the paper displayed eraser marks and creases. Some of the pictures are distracting from the story itself.
I rate this book 2 out of 4 stars. There is potential here. I believe that the author is a great storyteller. Still, the grammar errors, low-quality illustrations, and formatting issues cannot be ignored. These multi-cultural children’s stories would perhaps be more entertaining and effective without the counterproductive name-calling.
The family of blackbirds and other stories
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