A balanced day

6 Aug

Today I read the Kirkus review of Rabbit and Robot. No star, like from Publishers Weekly. And—gasp—a wee bit critical. But pretty good nonetheless. Here it is:

Make way for another endearing, odd-couple pair of friends in beginning-reader land.

Rabbit takes a cue from forebear Toad and makes a list to plan his time with, not Frog, but Robot. According to his list, their sleepover includes plans to make pizza, watch television, play Go Fish and go to bed. Unlike Lobel’s heroes in Frog and Toad Together, these friends do not lose their list, but tension ensues when Robot tries to add additional items (games of Old Maid and Crazy Eights) to the list. Even when they follow through on making pizza, Robot wishes for unorthodox toppings (nuts, bolts and screws) and ends up finding them by dismantling Rabbit’s furniture. Rabbit is then reasonably worried about where they will eat their meal, but Robot has the good idea to spread a blanket on the floor and have a picnic. Similar scenarios ensue in subsequent chapters, with ample humor to augment the storytelling. The vocabulary, however, includes a few too many reaches for brand-new readers, and while the digital typeface used in parts of the text may evoke Robot’s voice, it may prove distracting to not-yet-fluent readers.

A good choice for those ready to launch into more advanced texts. (Early reader. 6-8)

Oh, no! Is Kirkus right? Will this book be too difficult for some readers? Will this book—double gasp—let them down? But before I could even get around to worryin’ and cryin’, this came in the mail:

Awesome fan art by Awesome Fan Ryan!

Yeah! At least Awesome Fan Ryan digs Itty Bitty! And hopefully, some kids will dig Rabbit and Robot, too. Thanks for making me feel good, Ryan, and for reminding me of the best part about making books for kids.

7 Responses to “A balanced day”

  1. Donna V August 6, 2012 at 11:31 pm #

    I’m thinking that the reviewer is rather out of touch with the academic skills of today’s beginning reader set.

  2. Jess Stork Glicoes August 7, 2012 at 7:10 pm #

    I love the idea about nuts and bolts on pizza! I agree with Donna, there’s such a variety in beginning readers.

    • Cece Bell August 8, 2012 at 12:59 am #

      Ah, I was probably being over-dramatic in my handling of that review. And a little worried that maybe I had ripped off Arnold Lobel. TOTALLY forgot about his list story. And I own it, for crying out loud! Must have been lurking there in the far reaches of my brain. Anyway, thanks for your comment! Hope your summer has been good thus far. Work on the graphic novel is coming along, slow but sure.

      • Jess Stork Glicoes October 24, 2012 at 7:59 pm #

        I think all authors compare their work to other books. It’s the curse of writing. (Trust me it’s worse when you work in the library and there are so many to compare it to!) But in my experience, as writers, we’re super critical of our writing without needing to be. (At least this is what my husband tells me.)

  3. kielprincipal August 8, 2012 at 12:54 am #

    Thank you, Cece, for making my nephew’s day! It was so kind of you to recognize him as an AWESOME fan! I’m glad he made you feel better.
    As the principal of a K-2 school, I think it is important for our youngest readers to stretch themselves to read words that may be challenging!
    Go Ryan!

    • Cece Bell August 8, 2012 at 12:56 am #

      Thank you so much, kielprincipal. Ryan seems like such an awesome kid! And his drawing was so good. Thank YOU for being a principal of a K-2 school. That’s gotta be a wild ride! Best to you!

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