Sunday, June 1, 2008

Review: Ashley's Unforgettable Summer

Summary: Ashley was not prepared for the turmoil and disasters this baby chimpanzee would create. At times, she wished she had left, baby Tina, at her home in Africa.

Rylee, Ashley's best friend did her best to help.

However, this baby chimpanzee always seemed to be one step ahead of them.

There was no slowing down with Tina.

Would they ever be able to control her? Just how far would she go? -- book jacket

When I was asked to review ASHLEY'S UNFORGETTABLE SUMMER by Grace Reddick and illustrated by Charr Floyd, I thought it would be a good book to read with my 8 1/2 year old daughter since the book is supposedly aimed at 9 to 12 year olds. When I received the book in the mail, I was actually surprised that it looked like a book more suited to my preschool age son -- the cover and the illustrations reminded me a little of Clifford; however, when I opened it, I knew it was way too long to read to a preschooler in one sitting. I asked my daughter to read it (to herself) and give me her impressions.

Booking Daughter actually thought the book was good and really funny! She enjoyed reading about Tina's behavior; and she thought the pictures did a good job of explaining what was taking place in the book. Her favorite part was when Tina made a mess of the paints in the garage, and Ashley got covered in purple paint. She liked that Ashley's mom thought Ashley had dyed her hair purple rather than blaming the chimpanzee for the mess -- the mom even thought Tina deserved a treat because she had stayed out of trouble for a few days.

I know this book was not targeted for me, but I still had a lot of unanswered questions after I read it -- like why was Ashley's family visiting Africa and why did her parents allow her to bring home a chimpanzee? My daughter also asked why the parents even let her have a chimpanzee in the first place. I'm not sure a 9 to 12 year old kid can just "accept" the story. I know that I just didn't quite get it.

Overall, I found this book to be a little schizophrenic. The storyline and illustrations would probably have appealed more to my 3 1/2 year old son than my 8 1/2 year old daughter -- there were lots of funny pictures and stories about a wild chimpanzee living with a family. However, the actual story was quite long, coming in at 51 pages -- with some of them being full-length pages of text. However, my daughter said that she enjoyed the book -- so what do I know?


Anonymous said...

Hey Booking Mama!! I've tagged you for a meme over at Platnet Books. I hope you'll play!

Cheryl said...

I had the same questions you did, so I'm glad it wasn't just me. My four-year-old and I read it together and it was too long for her, but she did enjoy the book overall because the antics are very funny.

Thanks for sharing your insights.