Book Review: Good News Bad News

Told through dynamic pictures and the words Photo: Jeff Mack

SILVER SPRING, Md, February 14, 2013 – Good News Bad News, written and illustrated by Jeff Mack ISBN: 9781452101101

Good News Bad News follows two friends, a rabbit and a mouse, through an afternoon attempt at a picnic. The day starts off good, but then turns gray and rainy. As they try to escape the rain and make the best of the situation, more and more problems find them. For every problem that arises, the rabbit finds a positive, but the rat finds a further problem. The rabbit brings a picnic basket, but the Mouse points out that it is starting to rain; the rabbit has brought an umbrella, but the winds blows it away. The story continues down the path of complications until the mouse is so fed up with the problems that he becomes angry at the rabbit and yells at him.

Photo by Robynlou Kavanagh.

 

With hurt feelings, the rabbit is no longer able to find the positive in the situation and begins to cry. Realizing that the mouse has made his friend sad, he tries to find the good in the situation to cheer the rabbit up, and they continue their picnic both seeing the good in their friendship.

The story is told almost entirely through pictures with just the simple phrases “good news” and “bad news.” This type of story is good for letting little one exercise their imagination and story-telling skills. With so few words, you can let your little one narrate the pictures without interrupting the story. Asking what is the good news or bad news shown in each picture also helps your child with his skills of observation.

While at its heart, Good News Bad News is a story about friendship between opposite personalities, it can also be used to teach cause and effect. For example, the rain makes rabbit pull out an umbrella, but the wind blows it away, so they take refuge under a tree. When they try to continue their picnic with a cake, the bees come for the icing on the cake, and they run into a cave, where a bear lives, then the bear chases them up a flag pole.

The illustrations are really what take center stage in this book. The characters are very charismatically drawn in a simple way. Both the mouse and the rabbit are very expressive in their reaction to what happens in the story. Whether it is the big smile and wide eyes of rabbit finding the next good thing, or the distress on their faces while being chased by a bear, the personalities of rabbit and mouse really come through without having to use any words other than “good news” or “bad news.”

Good News Bad News

Photo by J. Aaron Farr. Click to enlarge.

 

is a fun book that you and your child will enjoy. The publisher age recommendation is for 3-6. While it is a simple read with few words, it would probably not be well suited for children under 3 because the entire concept of the story required an understanding of good and bad.

Published by Chronicle book in July 2012, Good News Bad News is available as a hardcover or ebook. You can get a preview of the first few pages of the story at the author’s website.

 

Follow Brighid on Twitter a @BrighidMoret and receive updates when new columns post on Facebook or Google+. Read more about first time parenting issues in Parenting the First Time Through at The Communities at The Washington Times. Find more reviews of children’s picture books at Big Reads For Little Hands.


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Brighid Moret

Brighid is a freelance writer and first time mother.  She holds an MA in Writing from Johns Hopkins University.  Find her on Facebook @Brighid Moret

 

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