Author: LeAnn Beck
Year published: 2012
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Number of pages: 38
Recommended age: 3+
Daughter Rating: ★★★★☆
Grown-up Rating: ★★★☆☆
Reviewed by: Renee and Danielle (Mother and Daughter)
Summary (from back cover): This engaging tale of adventure and camaraderie welcomes the reader aboard an unexpected journey with unforeseen events. The salty and seaworthy crew who have spent their lives skimming the sea, find that what is beyond the horizon and the journeys that get us there, are shaped by the imagination and spirit we color them with. For children of all ages who enjoy the sea, from the deck or the shore, this adventure begs to be read again and again. Illustrate the events in this journal as you would record the voyage. Share with family and friends and see what they think of the surprise ending!
What I liked and disliked about it: I liked that you could draw pictures in the book. I liked the story and I liked that it rhymed. I liked the ending because it was surprising.
My bottom line: This book was good and I would recommend it to kids ten years old and younger.
What I liked and disliked about it: This is one of our shortest reviews because on some level, there is not much to say about this book. The story in the book is told through rhyming verse. The story is really good and provides excitement and tension for the reader. The twist at the end is something that I think little children would really enjoy.
Aside from the cover, the book has no illustrations. In fact, visually, the book is completely uninteresting. In lieu of illustrations, children reading the book (or being read to) are encouraged to use their imagination to draw their own pictures interpreting the story. Blank pages are provided at the end of the book where pictures can be drawn.
Initially, I liked this concept and could see the appeal for parents and youngsters alike. However, upon further reflection, I think it could have been executed in a different way. Specifically, I think it would have been better to put empty white spaces on the pages alongside the text instead of at the back. Then, a child could be encouraged to draw a picture relevant to a particular part of the story and then maybe the book wouldn’t seem so bare.
Further, there is, in my opinion, a flaw in the concept. Once there are pictures drawn in the book, the book can’t really be passed down to another child – it would be a very personal book. The problem is that children outgrow books. I try to think of how many books I’ve sold for 5 cents at garage sales and I just can’t see anyone wanting to buy or even borrow this book once it has been drawn in. It also wouldn’t make a very good library book. You can’t really have a library book that encourages children to draw in it. However, I can see that the book would be a lovely gift for a child and it could then become a memento.
My bottom line: The story in the book is good and as we all know by now, I’m a big fan of rhyming books. I’m not fully sold on the “draw-it-yourself” approach to the book. For that reason I can only recommend it to someone wanting to gift this book to a child aged 3+ on a special occasion (e.g., Christmas, birthday, etc.).
*** When Sam Sets Sail was provided to us free-of-charge by the author in exchange for an honest review.***
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