Book Review, Colton’s Pocket Dragon, Book 1 and Book 2 by Rebecca Massey
These two “books” of Colton’s Pocket Dragon are fairly good children’s stories with interesting “child mind” characters engaged in “child mind” activities.
But I’m not sure for what age children they’re intended. (Colton, the lead character, is ten, the book states.) The format of the covers and books themselves suggest very young children, perhaps first graders or read-alouds for those younger than that. But the text, including the reading level of the words themselves and the length of the tales could be for slightly older kids, perhaps second- through third-graders. Colton’s age would likely put him in fifth grade, too old for the text.
A major flaw in these as children’s books is that there is no mention at all of Colton’s parents, although he lives at home and the text makes it obvious that he must have parents. I think no mention of parents in a story, some of which takes place at the boy’s home is a mistake.
I think part of a story involving a young child and his home should have parents to make the concept familiar to child readers. I would call this a mistake of neglect by the author, who may or may not have children, according to a blurb about Rebecca Massey on the back cover of both these books.
One problem I have found with self-publishing publishers is an apparent lack of editing. AuthorHouse, 1663 Liberty Drive, Bloomington, IN 47403 (www.authorhouse.com) is no exception. I found the same problem with another AuthorHouse-published book.
While the two tales, which includes two young dragons, a Big Foot child, and some monster-type critters playing the role of villains, are interesting tales for kids, I found a few incidents that don’t quite make sense even for a kids’ fantasy series. (I notice the book cover mentions these books as the first two of a series.)
For example: on page four of the second book, Iggy the Bigfoot, she (the pink baby dragon) “finished every bite” of cereal that Colton had brought her. But two paragraphs later, the next morning, “He (Colton) jumped out of bed, grabbed the box of cereal, and poured until her (the baby dragon) hands were full.” I wonder if kids reading this would also wonder how Colton got more cereal from an empty box of cereal.
Kids are sharp. (Which is why they keep asking questions to which we don’t know the answers.)
Along with a few other editing mishaps, I found language on page 19 of the second book to be everyday spoken slang rather than literary wording. Even kids’ books should have literary wording at their reading level. The sentence reads, “The monsters started swatting their big, leafy limbs in the air, trying to knock Anayis (the little girl dragon) down, but she was way too fast for them.” I think, “but she was too fast...” would be adequate. “Way” I don’t think fits the written language.
In my opinion, the $19.99 paperback price is too expensive for books of 28 and 23 pages, as are these first two of the series. The E-Book price of $3.99 may be okay or just a bit too expensive.
The author, according to the book jacket, grew up in a small Nebraska town, moved to Arizona, where she met Leonard, her husband. The two operate a farm and a retail business of some type, the type not specified. A publicist wrote, “Massey has always wanted to write a children’s book, and she is excited to follow her passion in this series.”
With a few editorial corrections, I would bill these tales as good child fodder, even not being sure of which age the readers would be.
Milt Gross can be reached for corrections, harassment, or other purposes at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Milton M. Gross Copyright 2013