Official Review: The family of blackbirds and other stories

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Official Review: The family of blackbirds and other stories

Post by JessNWheeler » 07 Jun 2018, 16:04

[Following is an official review of "The family of blackbirds and other stories" by Chika Echebiri.]
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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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Post by Bikko » 10 Jun 2018, 04:03

I too support the reviewer since the errors has actually affected the flow of the story and creating boredom in the reading process.

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Post by SamSim » 10 Jun 2018, 07:41

The name-calling is troubling and it's a shame about the editing and illustrations. Thanks for the honest review!
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Post by ParadoxicalWoman » 10 Jun 2018, 08:34

The author has the potential but the fact that the book has not professionally edited is the bummer to the readers. Thank you for your honest review.
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Post by KristyKhem » 10 Jun 2018, 18:30

This one looked like a good book. Too bad it was lacking.

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Post by Sahani Nimandra » 10 Jun 2018, 22:33

I too agree with your rating to this read. No way in hell is a kid benefiting from name calls, and you mentioned it is a one step away from getting bullied. Children who bully others are children who have issues (in background sense by broken families, etc) they need a lot help and this isn't helping at all rather than it sets a bad example. Rather parents can use it to show to their kids that such things do exist, and that kindly explain it to them that this is bad, and that such conduct is unacceptable. Thank you for your thoughtful review!
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Post by Nimat87 » 12 Jun 2018, 03:16

Thanks for the honest review. From the author's name, I'm guessing this book is written by an African (most likely a Nigerian). I'm also Nigerian and name calling is literally a part of almost every household. I honestly don't know why it is but I feel parents are of the opinion that it makes children develop thick skin and become very tough, making them ready to face the challenges of the world head-on. I feel the African society is more conservative when it comes to showing 'weak' emotions, so we are encouraged to bottle them up so people don't take advantage of us. And this is actually true; people tend to take advantage of those they perceive as being soft, kindhearted, emotional in this society, so parents want to teach their children to be tough from the onset. In other words, the African society is a tough love society, even though it may have gotten too much. I do not subscribe to this school of thought though (although I feel there's a need for tough love in reasonable constraints, not name calling or lashing out insults!), as a lot of abuse is inflicted on the child without meaning to. However, a lot of people do subscribe to this because they believe it yields positive results, hence the reference in the book. The author painted a very realistic picture in that aspect, and sadly encourages it.
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Post by daniya__shah3 » 14 Jun 2018, 14:45

Fables are generally more expressive than other fiction. However, since they're meant for the younger audience, I feel that the illustrations could make use of improvements because they are what appeal to the kids more than the story.
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Post by LaurenHaupt » 17 Jun 2018, 16:38

I agree with you on the name calling. That's not positive reinforcement. It's a shame about the illustrations.

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