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BirdCatDog (Three-Story Books) Paperback – 1 Nov 2014
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
The stories can be ready separately – each character’s narrative is color-coded – or as a whole. The pages are split into three panels, facilitating the individual narratives. The animals are cartoony, but not exaggeratedly so. They have expressive faces and body language, and the story is straightforward, making it perfect for new readers and even pre-readers, with the help of an adult or older sibling.
The split narratives make this book useful in many different ways across different ages. You can talk about perspective and point of view; you can read the individual narratives; you can encourage children to talk about what they see happening on the page in any number of combinations. It’s a great way to introduce sequential concepts in reading to kids.
Somewhat reminiscent of the choose your own ending tales, each reader can choose just how he or she wants to read this wordless graphic novel. Individual tales can be followed from beginning to end, where each character most certainly is a hero, or it can be read from top to bottom on each page. Of course reading and watching how Bird, Cat, and Dog interact with either by chance during the day, could alter the end of the story. Just which one of these characters is a true hero? The format of the tale is quite a fascinating study of these three wanna be heroes.
The tale begins when the clouds just come into view in the early part of the morning. Bird is still asleep in his covered cage, Cat has yet to emerge from his cat door, and Dog hasn’t stepped through the door of his dog house into the yard. They all stretch, yawn, and tentatively begin their day. What will be in store for each one? For all three? The full-color panels, by virtue of their basic background colors and appearance on the page, are easy to read. The artwork is sharp, vibrant, and fun.
I definitely like the concept of three stories meshed into one, yet separate. The age range for Bird, Cat, Dog is 5 to 9. The draw or intent of this beginning graphic novel will be for the nonreader or in the upper ranges, the reluctant one. The nonreader will learn the physical aspect of directional scanning, something important to the dyslexic child. This is a fun, simple tale of the adventures of a bird, cat, and, dog that young “readers” will certainly enjoy as they try to figure out just who the hero of the book is.
This book courtesy of the publisher.
Story: three pets (a bird, cat, dog) are released in the morning and each seeks their own adventure. The bird will avoid the cat but be chased by a bird of prey. The cat will avoid the dog, chase the bird, and end up fighting a rival. The dog will bark at the cat, escape his chain, dig under the fence, also discover a rival stray dog, and end up dealing with both the bird and the cats. Add in a squirrel for more mayhem.
The conceit of the book is that you can follow one animal's adventure individually (e.g., the top blue panel always has the bird in it, the middle green panel is always the cat, and the bottom yellow panel is the dog's story) or you can follow all three chronologically at the same time. Even following all three, it is a fairly quick read.
The cartoony-appearing animals are very expressive but not anthropomorphic. The cat enjoys taunting the dog and the bird looks worried as it is chased. It can be a bit hard to follow at times (I was able to follow it easier than my 11 year old) and for me, it didn't resolve on a clever note. So other than the confusion, my 11 year old enjoyed it, read it herself. But I was expecting something a bit more clever and a lot more consistent. Some panels are just wastes in order to keep continuity (as with one page of just the dog standing there doing nothing but staring at a fence for 3 panels). And nothing much really happens that's unique: the animals go out, meet rivals, intersect now and then while fleeing or fighting, and then end up back at home. Admittedly, I was hoping for a payoff or something cunning to make the story more than just a clever concept. With graphic novels, there really does have to be a great story to underline the excellent line work.
So while I was left a bit unimpressed, my 11 year old did like the concept and the idea. Her only critique was that she wished there were sound effects to make it easier to follow/understand what was happening (which I had to tell her would have defeated the purpose of a wordless comic). It was a 3 star comic to me for not living up to the clever concept. It was 4 stars from her for being cute.
Reviewed from an ARC.
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