Thursday, April 4, 2013
Review: The Biggest and Brightest Light by Marilyn Perlyn ★
This one was a little better than the last one, I think, but only in that it actually had a story. But honestly, I think it could have been much better.
I know that this is for kids (the age range is 4-7), but I felt like there were a lot of issues with this one. Not only were there missing commas all over the place, but this was nothing but tell, tell, tell, and the story jumped around quite a lot.
For example: The book starts out on the last day of summer, with 6 year old Amanda receiving a letter with her new teacher's name in it. The teacher's name is Dr. Malko (I just had to look it up, actually. And it was probably mentioned once a page for all 56 pages), and Amanda is worried that she might have to get a shot. Cut to the first day of school, when Amanda meets Dr. Malko and is immediately reassured that she's not that kind of doctor. She then asks the students to tell something about themselves, and Amanda immediately yells out about her iguana, her puppy, her family, etc.
Nobody else gets a word in (not in dialogue anyway - it's said that they all wanted to hear more about Amanda's stuff though), and then Dr. Teacher is shutting down intro time to hand out schoolbooks.
Then suddenly it's story time, Amanda's favorite book is read. Amanda guesses the hat from the hints given. And then suddenly it's Halloween... and Amanda is going to be a witch! Amanda Amanda Amanda. I know that this is supposed to be some sort of memoir about one little girl's caring when her teacher was in need... But that's not really the vibe I got from this. I kept feeling like she just needed to be the center of attention, the "It" girl in her class, teacher's pet.
Anyway, so then when Dr. Malko's daughter got sick around Thanksgiving (because suddenly Thanksgiving!), Amanda decided to do something to help. "She thought and she thought... and then she thought some more... until a great idea came to her." She'd make Christmas decorations, sell them at $10 each, and raise money for her teacher. (Because suddenly Christmas now! There's literally no progression in time. It's just BLINK and it's a new holiday.) And just like that it was done. These cycles of Amanda thinking and thinking and thinking some more and then just great ideas coming to her happened two more times, and each time the great idea was over and done with in less than 2 sentences. Because, you know, the focus is AMANDA, not the kindness itself. We need to remember how selfless and caring Amanda is... it's not really all that important WHAT she did, or how she did it. She just did, OK!?
This is all the more annoying since this is apparently based on true events. I didn't get anything out of this book. I wasn't moved, I wasn't impressed or inspired. I was kind of irritated. Not really the reaction they were going for, I bet.