Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Book Review: Good News, Bad News by Jeff Mack

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Good News - Simply written picture book with a good story
Cons: Bad News, um Bad News, um....
The Bottom Line
Simply told story
Where pictures carry the day
Enjoyable book

Good News - This is No Bad News

I’ve got good news and bad news.  Which do you want to hear first?  I can remember my parents saying that lots of times while I was growing up.  And it also forms the basis of Good News, Bad News, a fun picture book for kids.

Rabbit is excited because he has made a picnic to share with his friend Mouse.  But just as they are ready to eat, it starts to rain.  Rabbit brought his umbrella, but the wind picks up and blows Mouse and the umbrella away.

The story keeps going that way with Rabbit trying to make good out of a bad situation only to have something even worse happen.  But the characters don’t fall into the simple optimist/pessimist paradigm.  Yes, Rabbit is optimistic and Mouse is pessimistic, but it’s hard to blame it all on that when they are being chased by bees or a bear, for example.  And some of the story relies on Rabbit being prepared.

But here’s the hook of this book.  The story is told using only three words: Good, Bad, and News.  That means the picture do most of the story telling.  It also means you can read it aloud in just a few minutes, and kids can pick it up and “read” it on their own even before they can read.

That puts lots of pressure on the pictures.  Fortunately, they deliver.  They are cartoony, but still close enough to realistic that it’s easy and fun to follow.  A couple of the pictures took me a few seconds to figure out, but looking at the next picture usually cleared up any confusion I had immediately.  The illustrations are mostly browns and grays and muted greens, but that just makes the red apples and the pink frosting stand out more.

All told, Good News, Bad News is a fun picture book that kids and adults will enjoy reading together.  In my mind, that’s all good news.

I received a copy of this book via Amazon's Vine program.

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