3 out of 4 stars
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The Christmas Cats are a group that enjoys helping other creatures of all types. Fred is a little bear who needs some help. You see, his hair is a bit unruly, and he's a little overweight. So, his peers aren't always kind to him. Will The Christmas Cats be able to help Fred?
The Christmas Cats Care for the Bear is for readers up to the 4th grade. The vocabulary might be too advanced for young ones just learning to read, but this is not a chapter book for older readers, either. This is part of a series of books about The Christmas Cats, but it also stands alone.
The illustrations are one of the most important aspects of a book for young readers as it helps to hold their attention. These illustrations were very cute and attention grabbing. They were very Christmas-centered with red and green borders as well as Christmas lights. It's clear that these were hand-drawn rather than computer-generated which is an absolute plus in my book.
The lesson of the story is one that even adults need a refresher on from time to time. The focus is getting along with others even when they are different than you are. Being kind to others no matter their looks is sometimes difficult.
The book has an ABCB rhyme scheme that it follows most of the way through the story. This is a clever device for helping those still struggling with reading to sound out difficult words on their own. Near the end, though, the rhyme scheme does stop abruptly when one of the characters introduces the reader to the other books about The Christmas Cats. I think it was fine to show the children the other books they could pick up, but there should have been more of a delineation between the end of the story and the introduction to other books in the series.
I also appreciated the extra material at the end of the story. There are some pages to color as well as a maze. The author even states that if the coloring pages are sent in, they will be added to their website. How fabulous would it be for children to see their work online? I think that's a wonderful touch.
There were some issues with the editing of the book, however. When it comes to children just learning to read, I've always stated that it's even more important to be grammatically correct with no typos. Sadly, this book is not quite up to par. There was unnecessary capitalization, extra punctuation (including an extra quotation mark) and incorrect comma usage. In addition, there was a very awkward sentence near the end. While I understand that the author did this purposely for rhyming, it is hard to understand.
All in all, The Christmas Cats Care for the Bear is a cute children's book with a great lesson to be learned. Due to the errors, though, I'm only able to rate it a 3 out of 4 stars. I would recommend it to children who are past the learning to read stage but not yet ready for chapter books. In addition, it would be a great read aloud book for a classroom or library.
The Christmas Cats Care for the Bear
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