Thursday, March 1, 2012

Betsy Beansprout: Adventure Guide

Betsy Beansprout: Adventure Guide, written by Amber Elmore, is, as the title implies, a guide to adventure, specifically a guide to outdoor adventures. Betsy is six years old and lives “in a state park deep in the heart of West Virginia”. Betsy has the whole park to run around in and explore. As she says, “When you’re a kid in a park, it’s like having a giant playground filled with things to do, animals to meet, and adventures to have.”

The book is filled with all sorts of great things for kids. Betsy likes to take her dog for a walk, squish her toes in fresh mud puddles, watch ants crawl across a stick, play follow-the-leader, and have picnic lunches.

Betsy has some Do’s and Don’ts for being outdoors:
• Do sit quietly and listen to the sounds of nature around you and appreciate what the Lord has created.
• Do take the time to dance in the rain on a hot summer day as long as there are no thunder and lightning. [This is the way it’s written in the book.]
• Don’t wander so far away that you can’t hear your parent’s voice. It gets a little spooky that way.
• Don’t play with snakes. Enough said.

The author includes recipes for kid-friendly snacks like Ants in the Sand (graham crackers crumbs sprinkled with chocolate chips) and Walnut Snack Made for Humans (mix walnuts, raisins, pretzels and chocolate chips). And, there are two pages at the end of the book with Fun Facts. Did you know that male cardinals feed female cardinals while they sit on the nest to keep the eggs warm?

The illustrations by Kasey Short are impressive. The detail is so amazing, the pictures look like photos!

What I Like: In case you couldn’t tell, I love the artwork! And, I think this would be a great book to encourage kids to spend time outdoors.

What I Dislike: Although the artwork is incredible, I have a concern about one picture. There is an illustration of Betsy lying on the ground, face-to-face and only inches away from a groundhog. I know this is meant to be a cute picture, and it is, but I’m afraid it sends the wrong message to children. They should avoid wild animals, not try to get up close to them.

And, for most part the vocabulary is just what you’d expect coming from a six-year-old, but there are a few places where the writing does not reflect a six-year-old’s perspective, with words like “appreciate”, “created” and “aware”.

Overall Rating: Very good.

Age Appeal: 6-9.

Publisher Info: Shade Tree Publishing, 2011; ISBN: 9780982263280; Paperback, $15.99.

Buy now at ChristianBook $11.99!

Or buy at $12.16.
Special Info: This book is geared mainly towards girls, but there are some good things for boys in it, too.

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