Official Review: The Story Of Autumn by Anne E. Reardon

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Official Review: The Story Of Autumn by Anne E. Reardon

Post by CataclysmicKnight » 14 Nov 2018, 19:40

[Following is an official review of "The Story Of Autumn" by Anne E. Reardon.]
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3 out of 4 stars
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One of the first things I wonder about a children's book is what kind of art the book has, so when I learned that The Story of Autumn actually uses your own children's art, I was sold on it immediately. The Story of Autumn by Anne E. Reardon is a children's book aimed at children 6-12 years old, and instead of being professionally illustrated, it actually has blank pages with prompts for drawings that can either be done right on the pages or pasted onto them.

This story is quite long for typical children's books - just over 50 pages in total - but it tells a cute story. A small tree starts growing in a giant forest of evergreens, and they all talk about how ugly it is, joking about how it's probably a prank from the Wind to try to upset them by putting a weed near them. Besides, they say to one another, the ugly little tree will probably die within a year at most. When the tree continues to grow long after a year, they try to figure out what to do to get rid of it. One recommends they crowd it to prevent it from getting nutrients, but they still feel like the ugly tree is a practical joke and decide that even moving to crowd it would give the Wind satisfaction, so they just pretend it doesn't even exist and let it be.

It isn't until then that we learn the little tree can talk too! She's very shy and deeply offended by the words of the Evergreens, but she has never spoken to them because they've never spoken to her. A squirrel named Skippy soon befriends her and their friendship changes not only her life but the entire forest!

I found The Story of Autumn to be really sweet, and even days after finishing it I'm pleased with how well it covers bullying, friendship, kindness, and inner beauty. Even Skippy calls the little tree Ugly, not as a nickname or an insult but as her genuine name, until she gets upset and asks what her name is. As the book goes on Autumn, the name the little tree is given by Skippy when she can't come up with one of her own in an adorable scene, ends up befriending all sorts of animals. Soon they discover she's the best, most beautiful tree in the forest! Just like most good friends stick up for one another, the animals overhear the Evergreens being jerks and get revenge of their own, such as birds doing a "white flyover" (use your imagination with that one, there's even a prompt to illustrate it!). These things make Autumn laugh, but then she feels bad; she knows what it feels like to be picked on, and actually asks them not to do it. Her positivity and kindness in the face of mean, bullying trees and trying to be the best tree she can be is the perfect lesson to take away from anything that deals with bullying, and I appreciated it greatly.

Anne recommends this book for children 6-12 years old, and while I can certainly see kids at the older part of that age range reading it on their own, the younger ones will need help. In fact, for pre-teen children there are likely several concepts that you'll be explaining to them as you go unless they're big fans of trees and/or science. This makes for a great excuse to teach kids about nature along with the story, and even as an adult I'll probably never look at a maple tree the same way again!

I was surprised by what a heartfelt, sweet book this was, and really enjoyed reading it. This is also something special for children who like to draw as there are numerous prompts throughout the book of all types. I could definitely see re-reading the book to children, and at the same time having them draw new images every so often, giving them an excuse to be creative and to see how they've grown as an artist over time. It's an easy recommendation to children who can remain attentive through longer stories, especially those who are dealing with bullying, who like nature, or who love to draw. With all of this said, I'd love nothing more than to give this book a perfect 4-star rating... but unfortunately, I can't. Sadly there are numerous errors in the book, including missing letters, punctuation errors, capitalization errors and homonym usage ("good-by" instead of "good-bye", for example). I found 11 errors in total, which averages out to around one out of every five pages. With some editing this is easy to give a perfect score, but as I said, sadly I just can't do that, and my rating of Anne E. Reardon's The Story of Autumn is 3 out of 4 stars.

The Story Of Autumn
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Post by kandscreeley » 16 Nov 2018, 08:24

I love the concept of this book. It really makes the children participate in the story themselves which most would absolutely love. It's good, too, that its' a cute story. Too bad about the grammatical errors, though.
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Post by teacherjh » 16 Nov 2018, 13:36

What a creative concept for the child to illustrate the story. I also love that the victim of bullying gets a friend to help them. I think having a friend to rely on is truly the best answer to bullying.
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Post by KristyKhem » 16 Nov 2018, 19:47

A children's storybook with spaces to draw in your own pictures?! What a unique concept. It will surely stimulate kids' imaginations! Sounds like the story also contains a few good morals too. Thanks for writing a great review

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Post by Book Lover 35 » 18 Nov 2018, 00:50

That's not fair. Poor tree. I like what you said about the illustrations. Although the book seems a bit long, I know my daughter would like it because she likes to color. Thank you for the review!

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Post by charmperit » 21 Nov 2018, 03:11

This sounds like a great children's book that covers the lessons of kindness, inner beauty, and frienship.

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Post by MsTri » 26 Nov 2018, 22:58

This is one of several books that I looked at while selecting a book to review. I really liked the idea of a children's book wherein the reader has to do the illustrations, yet something kept me from sealing the deal. It's too bad about the grammatical errors - so prevalent in Amazon self-published books - but I still think it's something I'd like to check out. Thanks for the review.

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Post by Kelyn » 30 Nov 2018, 12:50

This sounds like a phenomenal children's book. And I say that from the vantage not just of a parent, but as a teacher as well! Involving the children in illustrating the book will make it SO much more personal for them and keep them engaged with the book at a level that just reading it cannot achieve. I wholeheartedly agree that it can be just as relevant for the younger children with parental help. It's certainly a book I would have enjoyed working on with my children when they were that age. This one is definitely going on my "to read" shelf so I can remember to pick up a copy for my grandson in a couple of years. Fantastic review! Thanks!
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Post by Jagiine » 10 Dec 2018, 16:11

What an interesting concept! I love that it is a combination of reading and creating art. As an SLP, I'm always ecstatic to see things that develop children's language, fine motor, etc. Asking the kids to illustrate the story they read/hear is a great way to build reading (and probably listening, depending on the age) comprehension! I am putting this book in my future-read pile!

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