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Thursday, October 13, 2011

BOOK REVIEW: Howard B. Wigglebottom Learns About Mud and Rainbows


BOOK TITLE: Howard B. Wigglebottom Learns About Mud and Rainbows 
SERIES: Howard B. Wigglebottom, Book #4
AUTHOR: Howard Binkow
ILLUSTRATOR: Susan F. Cornelison
PUBLISHER: Thunderbolt Publishing
DATE OF PUBLICATION: January 25, 2010
FORMAT: Hardcover, 32 pages
GENRE: Children's Picture Books
ISBN: 978-0971539051

SYNOPSIS FROM GOODREADS: 

Howard B. Wigglebottom took pride in being able to fix things and situations until he learned there was nothing he could do to help his friend Ali. Upset and frustrated, he seeks help from his Mom. A simple, basic approach to the Serenity Prayer, this book, the fourth in the Howard B. Wigglebottom series, teaches children ages four to eight how to identify situations that cannot be changed and make the best of it by looking for the positive side of things.

MY REVIEW:

I received this book for review from the author. I did not receive any compensation for my review, and the views expressed herein are my own.

I read this book aloud to my children.

I love the name of the rabbit, Howard B. Wigglebottom. It's cute, it's funny, and accurately describes my kids who can't seem to sit still! 

The book starts off funny and entertaining as we see the different ways that Howard likes to fix things. It takes on a little bit more of a serious tone when Howard find his best friend, Ali, crying. She is sad because her parents have been fighting a lot, and she feels as if it is all her fault. Howard wants desperately to "fix it," but doesn't know how. Not knowing what to do, he sits with Ali every day and just listens while she talks. Howard doesn't even realize that what he is doing is helping Ali! 

Howard talks to his mom about Ali's situation, and she has very sage advice for Howard, telling him that sometimes parents do fight and that it is NEVER the child's fault. Furthermore, she reassures Howard that he is doing what Ali needs most: He is being a friend. Even though we cannot always fix things, we can change the way we think and feel about it.

The moral of the story is: 

"Howard learned that sometimes life gives you RAINBOWS and sometimes you get MUD!

So if you find yourself headfirst in mud and you can't change it, you have choices. 

You can be unhappy about it...
or make the best of it."

I loved this book! I thought the message was inspiring and very thought-provoking. It is not just a message for children, but for adults as well. Binkow includes suggestions for lessons and reflections at the back of the book, and I spent quite a while discussing the book with my kids. Sometimes, children will hear their parents fight, and Binkow reassures children that it is okay to feel upset but that they should know that it is never their fault.

Howard is an excellent role model, and I loved seeing his concern for Ali and want to try to help her. He comforted Ali, which is exactly what I would want my kids to do for a friend.

Cornelison brought Howard to life with her colourful illustrations. They are just wonderful and capture the essence of Howard beautifully. There is one illustration in particular on Page 23 where we see Howard and Ali from behind, sitting down. Howard has his arm around Ali's shoulders, and he is listening to her as she talks. That picture made me smile, and I was very touched by it. 

Even though the synopsis suggests that this book is intended for children aged 4-8, I think this book is suitable for a child of any age. Both my 3 year-old and 9 year-old loved the book.

Although this is Book #4 of the series, each story is independent and can be read out of order.

I am looking forward to reading more Howard B. Wigglebottom books!

MY RATING: 5 stars!! We loved it! Highly recommended for kids!

This book qualifies as:
#92 for my 2011 100+ Reading Challenge

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