Note to Readers
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Saturday, August 29, 2009
Luke and His Amazing Space Bed (Picture Book)
Released October 2009
Reviewed by Tracy Farnsworth
It's always hard to critique a child's book, especially one written by a child. In this case, I read LUKE AND HIS AMAZING SPACE BED and then read the back cover blurb. It was in reading the synopsis on the back that I finally said, "Oh, that's what the book was about." Not a good sign by any means.
Thinking maybe I just "missed" the point, I then handed the book to both of my children. They again said they didn't get it. I had them then read the blurb and they had the same reaction as me. In a nut shell, the blurb on the back cover retells the entire story but without having to decipher the clues.
As a note, I did received an advanced reader's copy, so any grammatical errors may be corrected before it goes to print. In addition, the back cover information may well change.
For instance, the boys in the story, Luke and Arnold head into space on Luke's rocket bed and travel to the "furthest" (though that should be farthest for proper grammar: farthest for distance, furthest for ideas or metaphors) planet from the sun. My kids did know the farthest planet from the sun, I wasn't quite as quick to pick up on it. Either way, they did say their schools don't teach the planets until 5th grade and by that point, they'd be too old for this book anyway. Some schools, such as the author's, may teach them earlier.
The heart of the story involves whether Pluto is a moon or a planet. Again, this is something my kids said wasn't taught until middle school. With that, I handed the book to one of the neighborhood children, she's eight, to read. She really didn't get the storyline at all, mainly because she hasn't learned her planets yet. I told her a bit about the planets and the debate over Pluto and she reread the book with a little more understanding this time and said it was better, but still not a book she'd keep.
With that, I have a hard time deciding which age group should read this book. It's geared towards the younger crowd, but unless parents spend time teaching about the planets in advance, children might feel lost with the topic at hand. I think parents are best off showing a couple pages to their child before deciding to purchase.