Where Honesty Never Ends.
When You’re Not Home
by Zen Thai
Greetings! The Review Board here to share our thoughts on the children’s book, When You’re Not Home. First we will check out what Nikki sees in the story:
I really liked the simplicity of this story and the emotional content. A child would readily identify with Chester and his predicament. We have all woken up to discover that something is not quite right and haven’t a clue why? Plus, I have two black and white cats, so readily identify. However, the story as a whole, doesn’t really address the issue of fear and panic a child goes through when a loved one isn’t there, and Chester seems to deal with his loss too quickly. The author’s need to decide to personify Chester more or less. As it stands, Chester does some cat-like things and some human-like things, which is a bit confusing especially for a young mind.
I love the graphics a lot, really cute and colourful. Children will love the pictures and be drawn in by them. I did have some concerns about the story and how it progressed. There is point where he looks out of the window and waves at something that doesn’t wave back. Why? I wanted to see what Chester was waving at and know why he was doing this and why he would be sad that whoever was outside, didn’t acknowledge his gesture.
“He looked out the window to see if his best friend was outside
And saw something he has never seen before.”
It should read ‘And saw something he had never seen before.’
Also, I wasn’t at all sure about this sentence, it seemed quite odd with the pluralisation of the words:
“Chester jumped right in and ate every bits and pieces.”
Thoughts don’t normally have speech marks, as they are not dialogue as such. It can be confusing to a small reader what is speech and what is thought, so maybe that needs to be made clearer. Not sure if I would put in the scene of Chester eating books as this may prompt a child to imitate him and choke.
I think that the authors need to decide whether or not to use rhyme. Putting it in towards the end doesn’t add anything to the previous narration, and did in fact jar. It is best when writing for a younger age group to be consistent with this and to try and avoid passive sentences to keep the narrative fresh.
“But a sound woke him up and he rubbed his eyes
A delicious bowl of food was laid by his side.”
Vision Verdict: 7 out of 10 TRB Stars.
All in all this is a lovely book with adorable pictures and a very engaging character in the form of Chester. I think he will go on to have many adventures and delight future young readers across the globe. My only concerns are with some grammatical errors here and there. Other than that, a great book for parents to read to, and with their children.
Next to give her perspective, Mini Truth:
“When You Are Not Home” is the story of a black and white Tuxedo cat named Chester. Chester is a lazy cat–like most–who has an affinity for sleeping. At one point Chester falls so fast asleep that he misses out on an entire day and night and when he wakes up his best friend isn’t home. So, what does he do to entertain himself while he’s alone? He plays AND he sleeps some more! Before long his best friend is back home and he is happy again.
Truthful Verdict: 10 out of 10 TRB Stars
This was a very cute story. I read it to my son and then he read it to me. We both loved the illustrations and the simplicity of the story.
I think any child would enjoy this endearing little tale and would understand the moral; even when you think you are alone, you really aren’t.
Pros: I really loved the colors of the illustrations. Each picture was very engaging. Since I have a cat myself, I found myself chuckling at some of the behaviors that were similar to the cat at my own residence. The text was big and easy to read.
Cons: I did notice a few shifts from past to present tense in the read. Since the target audience is a young one, there should be definite care in keeping certain things consistent. Tense is one. Another aspect that should stay cohesive is rhythm, and it slipped a couple of times through the read.
Verdict: 8 out of 10 TRB Stars
Despite the aforementioned opportunities, I still recommend this as a great read for children and for parents to read to children. The illustrations and simplicity of the story serve to make it a delight.
Let’s take the total and divide it by three (the number of reviewers):
Overall, When You’re Not Home receives 8 (actually 8.33) out of 10 TRB Stars.