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!