3 out of 4 stars
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Something’s Eating the Garden is a children’s picture book written and illustrated by Pam Fries. While eating a meal, a little boy speculates who could be eating the fruit and vegetable crops in his family’s garden. Papa provides pertinent information about various animals as the child asks about potential suspects. For example, Papa explains that a frog would be more interested in eating bugs than beans.
I enjoyed this short book which has an interesting plot twist. Written completely in rhyme, the storyline is easy to follow. There is a traditional rhyme scheme, with the second and fourth lines rhyming in each stanza. Kids usually love rhymes so this aspect is a nice bonus. Also, there are no advanced words, so the book would be a good choice for beginning readers.
The rhymes aren’t always obvious due to the format. Sometimes all four lines are on the same page, but other times two of the lines are on the next page; in one instance, the four-line set is laid out across three pages. In a paper version of the book, I assume the pages would be side by side, and the rhyming words would be easy to spot. However, this isn’t the case in the Kindle format.
One minor gripe I have is the little boy isn’t given a proper name. Although this omission doesn’t affect the plot, it gives an impersonal feel to the character. Children often name their stuffed animals and other play figures, so they might relate better to a character with a proper name.
The pages contain full-length illustrations that look like beautiful paintings. The animals have a textured appearance – for example, there are subtle color changes in the pig’s hair and ears. On each page, a different animal is shown holding or chomping on a specific item. The pictures tie in nicely with the narrative and could spark further discussion about various animals and foods.
The book contains only one error - the closing quotation mark is incorrectly shown on the next line. However, this mistake is very noticeable since it is on the first page in an extremely short book.
I rate this book 3 out of 4 stars. It is an entertaining and educational tale suitable for children ages 3-8, especially those who enjoy food or animal themes. Older kids would likely be more interested in a longer story with a more detailed plot. Although the plot and illustrations are top-notch, the other issues I mentioned caused me to lower the overall rating.
Something’s Eating The Garden
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