Monday, August 24, 2009

Phliberty-Jibbets by William Moore (3/5 stars)

The author contacted me and asked if I would read this novel. I said "sure!" since I love reading and am always up for free books. Overall it was an okay children's book. I think younger children would enjoy it more than older children; although it deals with some issues that relate to older children (not being popular at school, etc.)

Ima Jean Snodgrass is not popular at school, her mom is busy and doesn't spend much time with her. After one of the most horrible days at school so far, she is walking home when she sees a new store that she hasn't seen previously; Phliberty-Jibbets. In this store she meets Phliberty, and he will grant one adventure a day for her as long as she doesn't tell anyone outside of the store about Phliberty-Jibbets. Unfortunately her adventures are cut short when the mad scientist who creates the wonders in the store kidnaps one of the store's namesakes.

This story is based around a premise that kids will love. There are also a number of very creative and fun characters in this book. While the book starts out feeling a little awkward, the author finds his stride as Ima Jean gets deeper into the adventures at Phliberty-Jibbets.

There are a couple things that bothered me about this book. I was a bit disappointed that Ima Jean didn't get to go on more really cool adventures early on in the book; I was also disappointed that her first adventure was so...well...unadventurous. I talked to the author about it and he says this was to show how downtrodden Ima Jean was as a girl. I agree that it definitely serves that purpose.

I was also a bit disappointed that all of the wonderful characters introduced in the beginning of the book disappeared in the second half of the book. The characterization was definitely the strong point of this novel and I wish the author had capitalized on that strength a bit more. Again, I discussed this with the author and was assured that these characters do have larger roles in future books of this series.

Lastly the book ends with the main story line unresolved. I am not a fan of books that end that way, but that is a personal preference. I usually like an author to wrap up the main story points and have a over-arcing storyline that flows through multiple books in a series.

In summary; there are some really neat characters in this book. The author really finds his stride as he gets into the adventure sequences. The story is well-told; if somewhat predictable. I think younger children will enjoy this book. I think adults who like to read children's books and older children might find it a bit predictable. Overall I thought it was an okay book. I think the the next book holds potential to be even better.

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