Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Jake Helps Out

Crystal Bowman's Jake Helps Out is an ideal book for young kids who find their attempts at helping often end in a big mess.

In this stage 2 "I Can Read!" book, a cute young rabbit named Jake anxiously waits for his parents to finish chores so the whole family can go to the lake. Attempting to be useful, Jake helps his little sister get her cereal - and spills milk all over the table. He tries to wash the dishes - but breaks a plate. He helps pack the picnic basket - but spills sticky, smelly pickle juice all over it. "I'm sorry," Jake says. "I just wanted to help." As his parents calmly clean up after him, his mother replies, "We don't need your help right now."

Feeling useless, Jake mopes in his room. Then his sister asks him to read to her. They read several books before their parents announce it's time to go to the lake. Once on sunny shores, Jake makes a sand castle with his sister, then teaches her how to float in the water. When everyone sits down for lunch, Mother tells Jake what a big help he is. Jake protests, recounting his series of messes that morning. His parents tell him everyone has accidents, and that Jake was, indeed, very helpful when he read to his little sister, taught her to make a sand castle, and taught her how to float.

"You are important to our family," Mother says. "God made you a big helper," Father says. Jake is happy God made him a helper and that his family needs him.

Throughout, Karen Maizel's illustrations are both cute and illuminating. My nearly-four year old loves this character and his foibles, which are nicely expressed by Maizel.

What I Like: Jake is a character all young children can relate to, and Bowman and Maizel do a great job dealing with a topic that really does impact children's self esteem: Chores and being helpers.

What I Dislike: Nothing. Some parents may feel the Christian content in this book is thin; this is true with many of Zonderkidz's "I Can Read!" books. However, if you approach the book as something with good, wholesome content that doesn't exclude God from life, I think this book is an excellent addition to any young reader's library.

Overall Rating: Excellent.

Age Appeal: According to the publisher, 4 to 8, but this also makes a great read-to book for toddlers and preschoolers.

Publisher Info: Zonderkidz, 2007; ISBN: 0310714575; paperback, $3.99

Buy it Now at ChristianBook.com for $2.99

OR Buy it at Amazon.com for $3.99.

Special Info: Read our other reviews of Crystal Bowman's books.

Bookmark and Share

No comments: