26 November 2010 ~ 0 Comments

The Adventures of Isaiah James: Beach Boy by Sabrina K. Carpenter

The Adventures of Isaiah James: Beach Boy is the story of a day in the life of a small boy. Isaiah is lucky in that he goes on adventures with his family. This is the story of the day that his mother and father surprised him with a trip to the beach. The story is told in rhyme, with nice pictures to go along.

I really wanted to like this book. I read the back cover first and saw the inspirational story of the author, Sabrina K. Carpenter. With one successful business already to her credit, not only is she also a cancer survivor, but she has found time as a mother of two young boys to bring her creativity and perseverance to the world of children’s literature.

However, a few things kept me from being overjoyed with the book once I sat down with it. First, the pictures are nice, but are so washed out that at times it can be hard to determine what effect the illustrator was going for. The light crayon drawings really clashed with the large, bold print of the book. The pictures made the print look garish and the print made the pictures look even more washed out than they were. The overall affect was not impressive.

As I mentioned, the story was told in rhyme. Unfortunately the author seemed to have trouble coming up with a good rhythm. The lines of unequal length made it hard for me to follow as an adult; a beginning reader just starting to develop some fluency to their reading will really have a hard time with the text. Also, the descriptions I’ve read for this book state that it is for “young readers”. Based on the age of the main character I would assume that the target audience is no greater than late first grade, maybe early second. Words like “encouraged” and “successfully” are not going to be found on the known word list in either of those classrooms.

At one point I thought perhaps this was going to be a counting book. This would have added a welcome purpose to this title. However, the one page that used counting as a topic showed the main character rushing through the counting. It would have been a bit better had the reader been given the opportunity to count the balls first and then be rewarded by Isaiah reaching the same conclusion. Instead, the reader is first shown a page with 17 balls and on the next Isaiah counts only 10, throwing away a perfect opportunity to make a connection with the young reader.

Overall I’d say The Adventures of Isaiah James: Beach Boy is a good book. However, it does not do anything extremely well. It is best read to the child by the parent with both working together to discern how best to interpret the illustrations.

The Adventures of Isaiah James series cohesively blends learning, imagination and brilliant illustrations for young children. Sabrina’s goal is to encourage the love of reading and reveal to both parents and children that every day can be an adventure. This series debut finds Isaiah James swimming with the dolphins, crawling with the crabs and learning fundamentals throughout his entire journey.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Leave a Reply

CommentLuv badge

This blog is kept spam free by WP-SpamFree.