Reviewed by: BigAl with input from The Princess
Genre: Middle Grade/Children’s Fiction
Approximate word count: 5-6,000 words
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A former school teacher and veteran of Desert Storm, Nathan Mercer lives in Pennsylvania with his family.
For more, visit Mercer’s website.
You all know the fable about race between The Tortoise and the Hare. But do you know what happened before the big race?
As I’ll sometimes do with children’s books, I drafted The Princess, my eleven year-old granddaughter, for her input to assist with my review. Her feedback was mixed.
She called it an “interesting story,” but gave it an overall grade of C+. The reason she gave for not giving it a higher grade was that she thought it was “missing some stuff.” Explaining further she said it needed “little topics supporting the big topic” or “more little adventures supporting the big one.” I interpreted that to mean, at least for her, the story was too one dimensional and needed a little more meat.
My suspicion is that a younger reader might feel differently. The Princess just started sixth grade and testing the readability of a couple samples of text from the book indicated that it is at a fourth or fifth grade reading level.
However, The Princess also had no trouble understanding the point of the story. She gave me a summary of the plot and said it was “a book with a moral.” She explained the lessons to be learned as “it takes practice and study to get good,” continuing to say that “even little changes can make a big difference,” and that a person should “make goals.”
Based on the feedback from The Princess and reading of Tommy’s story myself, I’d recommend this as a good book for fourth graders (plus or minus a year depending on the individual) and a story a parent might consider reading to a younger child. If the child isn’t familiar with Aesop’s fable of The Tortoise and the Hare, you might follow up with that story the next night.
No significant issues
Rating: **** Four Stars