Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Book Review: A Reel Cool Summer

It is a HOT summer day and the kids are bored. "A Reel Cool Summer", by Martha Rodriguez, is a delightful children's book about three young movie makers and their quest to win a contest at the public library. This story was inspired by Martha's real-life children and it is illustrated by her son, Joey.  This book will inspire children to tap into their own creativity and find new ways to fight the summer-time doldrums.
About The Author
Martha Rodriguez was born in Havana, Cuba and emigrated to the United States as a child. She is a wife and mother to three children.
Martha is an independent author and this is her first children's picture book. She is also the owner of Read To Me Publishing, LLC.

An Old Video Camera And Some Creativity
It is a hot summer day and Danny, Joey and Jacqui are bored. They wish they had a swimming pool. Joey receives a postcard from the public library that is announcing a movie making contest for kids! The contest ends TODAY at 5:00 pm. The first place prize is $100.00, the second place prize is a trip to Adventure World and the third place prize is a mystery gift!

The children find their family's old video camera and get to work. The entire family works on the props and costumes. The kids combine their ideas and come up with an out-of-this-world script for their movie. Joey is the photographer and Danny, Jacqui and their pet hamsters are the actors.
The children complete the video and get to the library just before the deadline. They anxiously await the announcement of the contest winners.

Did they win first place in the contest? I am not going to spoil the surprise at the end of the story. I will say that the kids were happily rewarded for their creative efforts!

My Thoughts
I really like the theme of this book. Children should be encouraged to use their imaginations and explore creative outlets. With the help of modern technology, children are very capable of creating a video movie to share with their friends and family. This book demonstrated that you don't have to have the most modern equipment to make a movie, the kids in this story were using an old video camera that used VHS tapes.
The computer-generated illustrations are colorful and fun. Joey Rodriguez did a wonderful job creating illustrations that complement this story.
This book uses a picture book format but the text is more verbose than a typical picture book. I would say this book is appropriate for children in the 2nd/3rd grade levels. The book is a good read-aloud selection for younger children.

The dialogue is written to sound like children really talk. Parents might cringe but kids will love it. Here is an example from the text;
“You know how much I hate going to the mall because it’s so boring and you have to walk for hours and Mom takes forever to pick out a pair of socks and lava is hot, like a million degrees hot, and it melts everything? Well, that’s what today feels like; it’s boring and hot. Like a mall that’s made of really, really hot lava!”
Mrs. Rodiguez has done an admirable job on her very first children's book. I love the fact that an author can now write and publish their own book and share it with the world. I look forward to more books from Martha and her Read To Me Publishing Company.

Disclosure: I want to thank Martha Rodriguez for sending me a complimentary digital copy of this book to read and review.

Please share your thoughts in the Comments Section below.
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