Official Review: A yard full of Wonder by Jean McCarthy

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MarisaRose
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Official Review: A yard full of Wonder by Jean McCarthy

Post by MarisaRose » 07 Aug 2018, 11:11

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "A yard full of Wonder" by Jean McCarthy.]
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1 out of 4 stars
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A Yard Full of Wonder, written by Jean McCarthy and illustrated by Genesis Ray Pelobello, is a short children’s picture book about the various animals one girl has encountered in her backyard. Baby bunnies, a family of robins, a skunk, and a pair of love birds have all made their home in this girl’s yard.

The book begins with the narrator, an adolescent female, informing the reader that the story is all about the animal friends she has met in her backyard. However, the narrator is never properly introduced. The first page of illustration does not include an image of the narrator (although she is depicted later on), and the narrator never shares her name in the narrative. Moreover, the narrator is somewhat annoying, as she constantly uses exclamations like, ‘Oh my gosh !!’ This phrase hardly seems appropriate for the age level of the book, which given the bright illustrations, short narrative, and simple wording, appears to be children about three to seven years old.

The illustrations are brightly colored and depict cutesy images of the animals the narrator has seen in her yard. However, the illustrations were inconsistent at times. For instance, at one point the narrative describes a baby robin hopping around the yard and seeing new things. However, the corresponding illustration shows the narrator, a skunk and a bunny, but no robin. This illustration is also repeated a few pages later, leading me to believe that it was unintentionally placed by the narrative describing the baby robin.

This children’s book is fourteen pages long, yet the book is split up into four chapters. The use of chapters in this book seemed pointless, especially because some of the chapters are only one page. As for the font choice, the entire book is written in all caps, which was distracting. Lastly, some sentences end unnecessarily with multiple ellipsis, which is not only grammatically incorrect but may be confusing for new readers.

However, the biggest detractor to this book is the lack of a clear message. Other than describing the animals the narrator has met in her backyard, there is no plot or moral to this story. In order for children’s books to be memorable and for children to want to read the book again and again, there needs to be some type of message that children can learn from or a story they can relate to. Unfortunately, this book has neither, and ultimately ends abruptly without any type of conclusion. If more of an effort had been made to encourage young readers to enjoy the outdoors or learn about the different types of animals they might find in their backyard, this book could have been more impactful.

A Yard Full of Wonder missed the mark; the vague narrator, the disconnected illustrations and the awkward use of all caps make this book unappealing as a children’s book. The further lack of a moral or message also makes it difficult to recommend this book. Given the many issues noted above, I rate this book 1 out of 4 stars.

******
A yard full of Wonder
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Post by Sahani Nimandra » 09 Aug 2018, 03:46

Wow, 😳 thank you for the detailed explanation of this review. Feel bad about the errors.
The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid! - Jane Austen :techie-studyingbrown:

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Post by OrlaCarty » 09 Aug 2018, 04:23

The capital letters would definitely annoy me. Thank you for the review.

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Post by booklysis » 09 Aug 2018, 04:40

The errors would be annoying. But the children will learn about different animals. Nice review!

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Post by Cecilia_L » 09 Aug 2018, 08:12

All caps is an odd choice for a picture book font. Thanks for your honest review.

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Post by Rosemary Khathibe » 09 Aug 2018, 08:48

It must have been tiring to read the story with no moral. Thanks for the great review.

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Post by Michgal 32 » 09 Aug 2018, 13:11

I think the many issues highlited makes the book hard to understand. Thanks for the detailed review.

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Post by KarinaBordas » 09 Aug 2018, 19:56

Thank you for such an honest review of A Yard Full of Wonder. It’s a shame that a topic that has the potential to develop into an exciting children's book missed the mark so drastically!

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Post by LV2R » 10 Aug 2018, 06:03

It seems strange that the narrator was not named in the beginning and that there really wasn't any story. Too bad the format didn't look nice. Even children stories should be written carefully and thoughtfully. I agree with you that "Oh, my gosh!" is not really a phrase that young children need to learn and say.

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Post by Amy+++ » 10 Aug 2018, 11:51

When I saw the title of this book, I was enticed to find out what this book was about. I was full of wonder and then ended up being disappointed. It sounds like the book could have used a little more editing.

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Post by kfwilson6 » 13 Aug 2018, 20:03

Wow, I can't believe a book for kids could miss the mark on so many levels. 4 chapters? Books like this always make me think of the atrocious singers on the American Idol auditions. You wonder why their friends and family don't say, "you can't sing!" Why did no one tell this author to fix her book! Excellent review. It was very informative.

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Post by LV2R » 13 Aug 2018, 21:20

kfwilson6 wrote:
13 Aug 2018, 20:03
Wow, I can't believe a book for kids could miss the mark on so many levels. 4 chapters? Books like this always make me think of the atrocious singers on the American Idol auditions. You wonder why their friends and family don't say, "you can't sing!" Why did no one tell this author to fix her book! Excellent review. It was very informative.
You have a point there. It made me laugh.

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Post by teacherjh » 30 Aug 2018, 22:55

That sounds like a pretty disappointing book. Sad.

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Post by StarkidStarling » 31 Aug 2018, 09:03

Some people seem to think kid's books are easy to write and anyone can do it, including this author. All caps would be so distracting...

I read a book as a kid called The Magic Locket where the main character had no name. My cousins also got the same book. We all thought the main character had our names and that was one of the coolest things about the book, looking back.

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Post by gen_g » 23 Oct 2018, 10:19

It's such a pity that the book missed the mark on so many counts! And a children's book at that. Sigh. Thank you for the review, nonetheless!

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