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Summary: Gnarble is a sea creature with dreams of seeing the sky. No one could believe it. Gnarbles don't swim that high! Big dreams call for big courage, and the gnarble was going to try. This is a rhyming picture book adventure.
Type of Reading: family reading, anytime reading, playtime reading, read aloud book
Recommended Age: read together: 5 to 8; read yourself: 7 to 10
Interest Level: 5 to 8
Young Reader Reaction: Review pending.
Adult Reader Reaction: The illustrations are beautiful with brightly colored sea creatures in a deep blue sea. Their names are fun to pronounce, particularly embedded in the rhyme. While I love stories of adventure and following your dream, I found this one to be a little too dark for its audience. At every turn, gnarble is about to be eaten by menacing creatures that take up nearly a full page. The story had two gaps. First, it's not clear why this gnarble (who has no name) is "noble." Second, what happens to the gnarble after he falls back into the sea. The ending is happy, but unsatisfactory.
Pros: Kids will love exploring the illustration and saying the names of these fantasy creatures.
Cons: Some kids may be taken aback by the intimidating expressions of the "evil" creatures trying to eat the gnarble.
Borrow or Buy: Borrow. This is a book for readers who love beautiful, colorful illustrations, fantasy, and good rhymes.
Educational Themes: With older audiences, you can use the book for art: exploring color, creating fantasy creatures. You might also write the next chapter: what happens to the gnarble when he splashes back into the water (or does he)? This is a story of adventure and perseverance, but not a lot of meat to the story to make that connection for young readers.
Notes: The author donated a copy of this book knowing that we would consider it for review and provide an independent, unbiased profile. This book will be given to a nonprofit to help readers in need.