Tuesday, April 16, 2013

A New Genre (for me) of Children's Books - Children's Illustrated Fiction

A couple of weeks back, I posted on LinkedIn's Fiction Writer's Guild, of which I am a member (I swear I know that I don't write fiction - is a blogger even an author?), that I would be happy to read any author's ARC and post a review on this blog.  Well, one of the people who responded was JZ (not Jay Z) Bingham.  And she wanted me to read, of all things, 3 children's books that she wrote, part of her Salty Splashes Collection.  I said sure.  So, last week, I got in the mail 3 beautiful, already-published, children's books.  I have read them and am ready to pass judgment; I mean, review them.

The books are called:
Dreamy Drums, Trouble in Paradise
Isle of Mystery, Eyes of the King
Gansevort, The King and His Court

I liked these books a lot.  Let me list what I liked about them:

1.  They are adventure stories, but not too scary for younger kids
2.  They rhyme in a natural, not forced, way
3.  They are actually a series and should be read in order, and you all know that I love series
4.  The characters are all animals and, oftentimes, unlikely friends (e.g. a dog and a cat)
5.  They bring in new friends each book
6.  They are kids who will be kids, so real kids can relate to them
7.  The illustrations are hand-drawn, very colorful, and super neat

I think the best part of these books is that they actually read like fiction and would appeal to a wide range of ages.  There are whole pages that are just story.  In fact, about 25% of the pages are text with no illustrations.  Many of the other pages have text within an illustrated page.  And still others have illustrations and no text.

I have to admit that I had never heard of Children's Illustrated Fiction before these 3 landed on my doorstep.  But now that I have, I'm a big fan.  This is a very cool concept and done really well.  I will definitely be reading these books to my grandkids.  Count me among JZ's fans!


  1. Thanks so much Lloyd for your salient, honest review. You touched on many benefits for kids and adults that were our goal during production of all three, and the basis for the entire series. One point: They will, in fact, be published April 30th, and will be available at www.balcony7.com and all major retailers very soon, across the US and Canada.

    Again, my deepest thanks! -- JZ Bingham

  2. Sorry, JZ. They looked so darn good that it didn't even occur to me that they weren't already available. And speaking of available, are you going to do any touring?

  3. LOL My first book signing will be at Book Expo America on June 1st, Javits Center, NYC (Booth #1049). There are many other events in the works. I'll post them on www.jzbingham.com and www.balcony7.com We also have Facebook pages and would love to have you visit us (and Salty Splashes Book Collection too).

  4. I'm looking forward to seeing you at a Northern California event. And I will connect with you on Facebook.