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Summary: Arthur the beetle tries to roll a large blackberry home to eat. On the way, he runs into a snag and has to figure out how to solve the problem. This is a picture book with messages about luck and problem solving.
Type of Reading: bedtime story, playtime reading, read aloud book, learning to read
Recommended Age: read together: 3 to 6; read yourself: 8 to 10
Interest Level: 3 to 8
Reading Level: 2.8
Age of Child: Read with a 4-year-old boy.
Young Reader Reaction: My son picked this book out from a pile. He LOVES this story and has requested it by name on multiple occasions.
Adult Reader Reaction: I was surprised my son likes this book as much as he does. Judging by the cover and illustrations, it looked quite uninteresting to me. The illustrations are simple and clear, but stick-figure-like. They are far from beautiful or artistic, but they are functional and serve the story's purpose. The story is well thought out, has a great moral, and uses some sophisticated (for a 4-year-old) language techniques (simile).
Pros: This book offers an excellent message. It is a great length and well written, using a challenging but graspable use of language. The illustrations depict the story's events clearly and do not detract from the text.
Cons: The illustrations are not artistic, but they are effective nonetheless.
Borrow or Buy: Borrow, at least. I loved the message of this book, but the lack of artistic sophistication holds it back from the rest of the "classics." That said, I could definitely see it used as a classroom tool in an elementary school. The illustrations hold it back from being a gift choice, except possibly for a few close friends.
Educational Themes: The story makes it easy to talk about problem solving. First, that you need to think about a problem before you use brute force. It also illustrates cause and effect, as well as simile. This was a good read-aloud for my preschooler, but it would also make a good easy reader choice for a first or second grader.