Showing posts with label AJ Cosmo. Show all posts
Showing posts with label AJ Cosmo. Show all posts

Friday, June 9, 2017

Every Family is a Little Nuts by AJ Cosmo

Rating: WARTY!

On balance I've liked this author's children's books, but I didn't get the point of this one! I mean, yeah, obviously it examines a slightly dysfunctional family, but it never seemed to go anywhere, and there really was no happy resolution, which some children might find rather disturbing.

If there's one thing children definitely need, it's the feeling of security. The story in general was not awful, and the illustration was charming, but the poor squirrel, Wally, really didn't seem to get any satisfaction and I think this is a mistake.

The story involves some unspecified holiday with gift giving, so from a religious festival PoV, it's quite neutral, which is a good thing, but Wally seems to get buffeted around without going anywhere, and has tasks put on him without seeming to garner any satisfaction from them or from a sense of helping or duty. None of this is really pursued, so the opportunity to teach some lessons here seemed wasted to me. I get that life isn't fair and there is no expectation of a reward, nor should there necessarily be for helping people, and children at some point need to understand this, but even this lesson seemed to become lost in the welter of activity and disconnected events. I can't recommend this one, but I do recommend this author in general.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

The Monster That Ate Our Keys by AJ Cosmo

Rating: WARTY!

I'd been enjoying 100% success with children's novels by AJ Cosmo, until this one, which fell completely flat. The Monster That Ate My Socks, I Don't Want to Go To School, and There's a Monster in the Dark were very entertaining reads, especially for their intended age group, but this one didn't get there at all. I'm wondering if there are only so many variations on the "There's a Monster..." theme which you can exploit in children's books?

This monster does precisely what it's billed for: it eats dad's car keys, and the boy and his father have to chase it as try to trap it or bribe it to get them back, but there really isn't much going on that's entertaining. It doesn't go anywhere other than around the house, unfortunately. The story really isn't as inventive as I felt the previous ones were. I can't recommend it.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

The Monster That Ate My Socks by AJ Cosmo

Rating: WORTHY!

I’ve had some success with AJ Cosmo’s children’s books and this was another one. Weird, but original and fun, and which took a Doctor Who approach to conflict resolution by showing that the brain is mightier than the sword. A nameless child is having a problem in that his stinky socks seem to be showing up in tatters the next morning – not clean ones, only the stinky ones. He doesn’t seem to grasp that if he washed them, or at least secured them, they might be safe from whatever it is that’s eating them, but he does have the smarts to lie in wait one night to find out that a green, three-eyed little creature is attacking and devouring his socks, and he makes a plan with his friend Ryan to trap the critter, which they do. He didn’t realize, though, that even monsters have families, and this one is only wanting to be able to take care of three kids.

Further investigation reveals that the monsters also love to eat bad homework and test results (now there’s an idea!), so the kids come up with a nice solution to the problem. In some ways I was a little bit disappointed that there was no opportunity seized here to discuss personal hygiene or the important of doing well in school. There doesn’t need to be a lecture, just a word or two here and there to get the idea into kids’ heads. That curmudgeonly comment aside, I did like the story and the monsters, and they message that you can help people even when, at first blush, they appear to be scary or beyond help.

And here I thought lost socks were orbiting Saturn alongside all the lost luggage! Shows what I know. I liked the overall story and the originality, and I consider this a worthy read. Besides, it has socks appeal!

Monday, September 21, 2015

I don't want to go to school by AJ Cosmo

Rating: WORTHY!

This is a bit late for the school season, but nonetheless a worthy read for the future for children newly going to school, or moving to start at a new school. The drawings are hilarious and the text is handwritten on lined paper. The young kid;s eyes are bugging out in fear of going to school. I can relate. The kid is a nervous nellie, concerned about the school bus (what if it hits a moose?!). What if they run out of chairs? What if the teacher's a monster? Well that's an inescapable hazard you'll have to live with, kid!

That's not what this books says, don't worry! Mom has a calming answer to every fear and eventually, she makes her case and wins the day! I recommend this one for any school start..

Sunday, September 20, 2015

There's a Monster in the Dark by AJ Cosmo

Rating: WORTHY!

This is short and sweet, and a fun romp in plenty of time for Halloween. Three kids, nicely diversified, are trying to scare each other at a sleepover, each trying to outdo the last with a scary story. The illustrations are wonderfully large, well-drawn, and colorful, and do evoke a sense of claustrophobia, of limited perception in a darkened room, and of maybe scary things just beyond the dark edge of light.

While some of these stories are really inventive, what they don't realize is that there's a real monster not far away who is just as scared of inexplicable, creepy things as they are. What, exactly is the monster afraid of? You might be surprised. I was! I recommend this for Halloween.