The Adventures of Charlie Chameleon: School Days (Volume 2)
Many characters in today's books are spoiled brats and have little to no respect for authority. Others are simply raising themselves, with no authority figures to be found.
The Adventures of Charlie Chameleon series was a refreshing change of pace from those stereotypical TV shows and books. Charlie Chameleon is respectful and polite; he even teaches his pet fish to have manners. He stands up for what's right by assisting a friend who's being tormented by a school bully, even though he's scared too.
The author goes above and beyond the standard by offering bonus material and fun, intermission-type content to keep readers engaged. A few examples are: instructions on how to build a cardboard spaceship, recipes (I'm totally making the chocolate meatballs), and activities to get readers thinking - like the secret coding. What kid doesn't love mysteries, and secret codes?
Each short story found within this book was like an episode of one of my favorite TV shows, Franklin. They're wholesome, engaging, and include a few colorful illustrations that young readers will enjoy to break up the monotony, but not so many that older readers would reject them.
I have to admit, it was strange to encounter the modernized themes found within - email addresses, internet access, etc. But, that's the world in which we now live, so it makes since to include these themes.
I highly recommend parents sit and read these stories with their preschool-aged children, or have their school-aged children read aloud to them. Enriching stories like these should be on the shelves of every parent and educator of young children.
Each chapter brings us a different school day, but all are linked with an unusual friendship developing. What kid doesn't like going on a school trip and being with friends out of school? Placing the school trip in a museum, the author will certainly draw attention to biology and history, and using animals as characters helps the children relate and raises their interest in various animal species' origin and behaviour. Baking cookies together with your friends, and chocolate ones on top of all? Another thing everyone loves to do. I enjoyed the little hints the author leaves for us to see the bully Boris has issues of his own, and the way she makes Charlie eager to treat Boris as a friend. Certainly encourages positive behaviour! When Charlie gets ill, every parent will recognize the phases, so the story lends itself to being read by the child alone or with a parent.
The science experiment chapter reminded me of the rare fun lessons in biology and chemistry we did, and how much experiments and team work really help children learn about life and each other. The interactive activities after the chapters are interesting, simple and fun, and children will definitely enjoy them. I was looking forward to predicting them!
All the characters are likeable and the book sends a very positive message, allowing for mischief, skirmish and curiosity as natural part of growing up. It is a clean read which promotes friendship and learning, which will certainly make me recommend this story to educators and parents working with children from about 5 to 10 years old.
This review was written for the Readers Review Room and deserves a gold bookworm.