By: Julia Antoine
"Too Clever" is an illustrated collection of 10 short stories about inquisitive children and their adventures in learning. All sorts of subjects are introduced and explored by the curious kids who star in these short stories. Each of them has a lesson to share, making "Too Clever" an ideal learning companion for kids age 9 and up. From Cleo's Tomato Sandwich to Timothy's Man in the Moon, each story deals with a challenge and a passion for the child to tackle and master, both learning and teaching. "Too Clever" tackles a multitude of subjects and interest areas, from taming wild eagles to learning correct grammar rules for difficult pronouns. And let's not forget the subject of math, or how many Johnny cakes will be enough to feed a family of four. Bright, cheery illustrations in comic style enliven the pages of "Too Clever," while peppy heroes and heroines dominate the stories illustrating active learning.
Huh, what can I say? Ok. Let's start with the fact that this is a children's book. Yes, I admit it, I read kids books. And not just because I win them... Although in my own defense I do have quite a few small children in my life, and I read to them a lot. I also will flip through whatever book they happen to be reading on their own so I can get ideas of what they are interested in, and what they are reading in general.
There are even some kids books that I enjoy reading. (Dr. Seuss for example) Maybe not enjoy on some deep intellectual level, but I can read and re-read them multiple times and not go crazy. (Some are just down right cute too.)
I am really sorry to say this was not one of those books. The stories started out well enough, it's just that they all seemed to lack a real ending. Sometimes it was also a little unclear what the lesson was that the story was suppose to be about. For example, in the first story Johnny, the little boy is showing his mother how he can count using the dinners johnny cakes. But he ends up miscounting and ends up with out counting a portion for himself. The story ends with him thinking " I have to keep working on my numbers...I became so confused that I counted myself out of johnny cakes."
First I think this was one of the more complete endings out of the ten stories, and even then I kinda wondered if there was more. Maybe Johnny counts correctly the next time? I don't know, I'm just saying how it felt to me. Second the lesson was sort of unclear. I took away from it that Johnny should study his math more. So maybe that translates into if the child reader is having trouble with a subject in school that they should just study more? Since the story just ends with Johnny thinking he should work harder on his numbers, and not with some example of how he worked harder and he was able to add better, it is really unclear if that is the end lesson or not.
I could go through and dissect each story but they are all pretty much the same. Some the ending is unclear, some the lesson itself is. A few of the stories, such as Megan's Troublesome Pronouns and Jeanie's Most Prized Possession did seem more complete than others. The lesson itself was even quite clear in the former one. (It's how to remember which pronouns to use) However that did little to completely redeem the book.
If you are looking for something for your child to read I'm not saying they shouldn't read it. Anything that encourages a child to read is a good thing. Just don't expect it to be everything that the summary says it is. Also don't be surprised if they don't enjoy it as much as the summary says they should.
*****In compliance with FTC guidelines, I'm disclosing that I received this book for free throughGoodReads First Reads. ****
(I recommend everybody should go check out all the awesome first read giveaways they have!)