Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Small Readers: Rubble to the Rescue by Kristen Depken, illustrated by MJ Illustrations

If you want to know how I feel about Paw Patrol, take a look at my review of the tv series. Ugh. Suffice it to say, I am not a fan. BUT. But, but, but, these are HUGELY popular. Generally, I try not to buy tv tie-in easy readers because they are so ill-suited to the actual task of, you know, learning to read. But sometimes popularity trumps actual readability and I did buy a selection of popular ones recently. Let's see what concoction of words and pictures I have inflicted upon the innocent children of my town.

Rubble is one of the Paw Patrol puppies. He drives a bulldozer. In this story, he has been watching a tv show about a superhero dog and wants to be a "super pup" and help people (even though....that's what Paw Patrol already does....?). He helps a farmer corral her chickens and then tries to take on a bigger task alone with disastrous results. Rubble calls Ryder (the human boy who leads the Paw Patrol) and they show up with friends to help. Working together, they save the day.

The generic illustrations could have been copied and pasted from the film or website, unsurprisingly since they're made by a company and not an actual, individual illustrator. The flat, digital illustrators lack expression or interest and are bland and forgettable, much like the text. The only positive thing that can be said about the storyline is that the message isn't hammered home at the end, but implied by the storyline which is remarkably subtle for this type of material. The text is large and laid out on plain backgrounds, which is a positive, but includes many words specific to the show which are more complex than this level of reader would usually encompass.

Verdict: Is this a quality book in regards to text or illustrations? Nope. It's bland, forgettable, and of only the vaguest literary quality. Will it check out? Heck yeah. This is one of the things I buy that fall into the "let kids choose their own books and they'll love reading" category. It's going to fly off the shelf and by the time it's utterly destroyed Paw Patrol will hopefully have been left in the rubble (heh) of another show.

ISBN: 9780553522914; Prebound edition published 2015 by Random House; Purchased for the library

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