Thursday, November 7, 2013

Where's My T-R-U-C-K?

When Jay started preschool, we found out that they participated in the Scholastic Book Club. I was thrilled. I remembered the catalogs from my elementary school years, and the thrill I felt each time I brought one home. As a young reader, they were such a treat. So, I was determined to order from each catalog for Jay, to build our collection, especially with seasonal books.

Things didn't work out as planned. For the first order, I had to register online. I put my order in well before the due date, excited to be receiving a pack of three Halloween books for an amazing price. Unfortunately, I had to confirm my new user name through a link that was, unbeknownst to me, delivered to my inbox. I realized too late, missed the deadline, and felt a boatload of mommy guilt that my son would not receive books in the very first month of Scholastic ordering.

The next order, I sat down with the catalog, and chose a four-pack of Thanksgiving books. Then, as was suggested by Jay's teacher (for all the students, not just Jay), I spread the catalog before him and told him to choose one book. The theory was sound--kids who get to pick their own books are more likely to read. But, the theory does not account for branded children. Or, maybe it does, and is directed toward branded children who are resistant to reading. Jay was indeed branded--I am thankful that almost-three-year-olds cannot get tattoos, or Jay might, at that point, have a Buzz Lightyear painted across his bum. Jay was also a reader, though, and did not need another character book on his shelves. He, of course, tried to get the Toy Story "how to tell time" book, which was most likely a piece of garbage.

It took a lot of negotiating. There may have been promises of additional books, or donuts, or something. I can't really remember. But, finally, he caved and we got Where's My T-R-U-C-K? by Karen Beaumont. What else came with the order? Seven Thanksgiving books. I guess my pending order from the month before went through, and, since the Halloween season had passed, they sent the current season's package.

We have not kept up with ordering from Scholastic. When Jay can read and make better choices from the catalog, we will likely resume. In the meantime, I like being able to read a book before purchasing it, and we have a steady stream of books coming in due to our used bookstore addiction, anyway. In the meantime, despite my initial feeling that this book would be junk, we actually scored a decent story.

General synopsis:
The basic premise of Where's My T-R-U-C-K? is that the main character, Tommy, has lost his beloved toy truck. He spends the length of the book searching for it, before finding that his dog has stolen it and buried it in the backyard. (Spoiler alert, I know. I'm sorry. Just don't tell the child you are going to read it to.) 

Who loves it:
Jay really liked this book. Was it because he chose it? Maybe. Was it because he was suddenly able to spell truck, due to the repetition of the T-R-U-C-K throughout the rhyme? Maybe. It's empowering to an almost-three-year-old to be able to spell one word, and get all the oooohs and aaaahs from adults who hear him do it. 

Why we like it:
I like this book. It is not an absolute favorite, but I never mind reading it. Why? Because it has a lot of little jokes for the parents that make me chuckle. The whole book starts with these lines, "'Shhh!' I hear my parents say. 'Tommy's not himself today. He's lost his T-R-U-C-K!'" Of course, Tommy, who is listening, can surmise what his parents are spelling. (They probably always can, but I, for one, like to continue deluding myself.) Throughout the rest of the book, Tommy often spells out truck, just as his parents did.

The verdict:
The book is cute. It's not deep or philosophical. It does not have a strong moral, or a story that will stick with you for the rest of your life. The rhyme is good, but not outstanding. It's just a solid, cute book. One that I don't mind reading when it gets chosen for bedtime, but I never think of it to buy for birthdays or baby showers, either. Ultimately, a good book collection will have a lot of middle of the road books. This is one. Enjoyable when it gets chosen, just not a stand out.

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