Posted in Review

Naming & Shaming – My Big Fat Zombie Goldfish, The Fintastic Fish-Sitter

Next on the unfortunate pile is My Big Fat Zombie Goldfish The Fintastic Fish-Sitter by Mo O’Hara and Marek Jagucki.

Zombie Goldfish comes from a successful series adored by children of all ages. This story focuses on Pradeep’s sister, Sami, babysitting a zombie goldfish called Frankie.

My first gripe is a spelling error early on. Sorry but it’s “Brussels”, not “Brussells”, only one “L” is required.  Even my spell checker came up with an error flag just as I typed it in.  If you’re wanting to publish, it does pay to proofread!

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I was expecting the story to feature a zombie type scenario, but it fell a bit flat when it was brushed off in two words essentially. Overall I felt the book to be somewhat confusing, it’s meant to be about the babysitter, going off the title but felt like a Tom and Jerry story. Frankie did nothing to prove to the reader why he is the lead in the book and though Fang, the cute but evil vampire kitten, was featured, there was nothing remotely vampirish about him. I suspect the rest of the series will explain more. As a stand-alone book, it was OK, but if you’re going to read this make sure you have the rest of the series amongst your collection.

Like my previous post, this book was also published by Macmillan.  It is purely coincidental that I found fault with two of their books on the same day.  Then again I have hundreds of picture books at home, and that publishing house does tend to crop up a lot.

 

Posted in Review

Naming & Shaming: The Toucan Brothers

I started a new area on my blog a while ago, naming and shaming children’s picture books, as I felt some need improvement and some just need throwing in the bin altogether.  I realise authors and illustrators do pour a lot of hours and effort into creating something magical and enjoyable for children.  It frustrates me to no end that when I see a book with fundamental English mistakes – either spelling or grammar or even morals that are completely wrong, I think how did that get all the way from an agent to a publishing house, printed and sold with these glaring errors?

I read to my children all the time.  With it being my son’s birthday recently he was given 10 new picture books, which were hidden all over the house and he had to find them, he absolutely loved searching.  Today I read him one of his new books and the errors were so obvious it pained me to read it all the way to the end.  So I’m giving my review, I guess to enlighten you potential authors that you need a lot of proofreaders otherwise your work will come across as sloppy!

The Toucan Brothers by Tor Freeman

Based on a Mario Brothers mixed with Ghostbusters type story and setting, Sammy and Paul are the town’s best plumbers and general tradesmen. The story is set in rhyme, and the illustrations left my son giggling endlessly, he wanted to hear the story immediately again – the writer in me was fuming by the end, unfortunately!

The first page which first caught my eye was the slogan on the side of the van “No drip too big, no pipe too small”.  Also, note the name of the brothers – Sammy and Paul.

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Yet the last line on the next page, to me, felt like a massive mistake with the text and the above picture. It reads “No job too big, no pipe too small”.  It’s a complete mismatch.  Proofreading would have easily fixed this. Frustration level increased a notch.

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I’m all for not talking down to children, treat them with intelligence and they’ll shine on through.  The next series of errors would have put me at a failure level on my writing courses. If only Tor Freeman had asked for proofreaders and stuck to a basic writing concept – CONSISTENCY! It really is key!

Sammy has now become Sam.  This changed back to Sammy when the sentence needed that extra syllable.

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And Paul has become Paulie.  This really left me seeing red! I had to go back to the beginning to double check I hadn’t read it wrong initially.

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That’s everything I wanted to share, credit for a colourful and visual book Tor Freeman, but the errors are unjustifiably there.  As an author trying to find an agent and ultimately a publisher it astonishes me that this story was accepted by a very successful publishing house, Macmillan.