Thursday, August 27, 2015

Book Review: Commander Toad in Space by Jane Yolen

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: A good, fun story
Cons: None worth dwelling on
The Bottom Line:
Commander Toad starts
Exploring watery place
Fun easy reader

In Space No One Can Hear You Splash Down

I’ve decided I need to reread all the Commander Toad books this year.  Research to find the best to give my niece and nephew for Christmas, or at least that’s the excuse I’m using.  I went back to the very first one with Commander Toad in Space, which is very fun book.

Commander Toad and his crew on the Star Warts are always looking for strange new planets to explore.  They’ve just found one that appears to be made up completely of water, so they take a floating lily pad with them so they can land on the surface.  However, they quickly discover they are not alone on the planet.  Who or what at else is there?  Will they be able to escape?

It’s been so long since I read the books that I didn’t remember anything about this book before I sat down to reread it.  I was very pleasantly surprised at just how much fun it was.  The plot was decent and moved along at a good pace.  It helped that the characters were introduced quickly at the beginning of the book.  The illustrations by Bruce Degen are delightful and really help tell the story.

Of course, the jokes that spoof science fiction, specifically Star Wars and Star Trek are numerous and add to the fun.  I’m sure I missed many of them as a kid, but as an adult I got them and really enjoyed them.  There are also some puns that I greatly enjoyed.

These books are categorized as Easy Readers, and I agree with that.  The short sentences are a bit choppy, but that’s a minor complaint and will be perfect for young readers.  More importantly, the vocabulary is simple enough for young readers to read.  A few words, mainly the characters’ names, might cause the reader to need some help from an adult, but that challenge will be good for them.

I’m glad I remembered these books because they are fun.  If you’ve missed them, pick up Commander Toad in Space.

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