Thursday, April 11, 2019

Review - The Great Adventures of Banana & Basil

The Great Adventures of Banana & Basil
by Kelli Hughes
illustrated by Jackie A. Gentile
Date: 2018
Publisher: Kelli Hughes Books
Reading level: C
Book type: picture book
Pages: 40
Format: e-book
Source: NetGalley

The Banana & Basil series is a fun filled adventure series based on two good friends exploring the world, traveling to unexpected places meeting new friends everywhere they go. The special sauce of Bailee and Ben is their heart to give and spread a little good everywhere they go. The great adventures follow Bailee Banana and Benjamin Basil into a beautiful untold world. Jump on in and see the friendship and love these two share. It just might inspire you to have a little more magic in your life.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

This cringe-inducing picture book somehow manages to tick all the boxes to make it an excellent example of why so many readers are wary of self-published works. I wasn't expecting this book to be as bad as it is... and I'm having trouble coming up with any good things to say about it.

The mediocre illustrations don't do the insipid story any favours. Basically, we have two white kids who decide to go off on an adventure (by themselves) and somehow end up in a tropical setting within a day of walking on foot as they search for a magnolia blossom for Grandpa B's birthday present. They meet a canary who gives them some directions. Bailee somehow (for no reason) decides she's not afraid of being away from home anymore, and sings a silly song about it. Then they meet a gharial (which is a creature native to the northern Indian subcontinent) who directs them to a one-eyed turtle who gets them all outfitted so they can go and meet some pirates. The meeting with the pirates is totally bland; we're told the pirates tell the kids lots of amazing stories, but the reader isn't privy to any of that. We don't even see a pirate in the illustrations, except from behind! The pirates want to stop the kids from taking the magnolia blossom, but the kids appease the pirates with some parrot feathers (you would think pirates would have plenty of those already) and get their magnolia and return home just in time for the party. Then we learn that the magnolia is going to heal Grandpa B from old age so he can go on more adventures and return to Pirate's Cove (because he's apparently been there before).

The writing is pretty bad. Said bookisms run rampant. There's missing punctuation. There are misplaced capitals. "Pirate's Cove" implies one pirate, when there are many. (Shouldn't it be "Pirates' Cove"?) Large chunks of the story are glossed over with telling rather than showing. Stuff is brought up like it's important, then never mentioned again (e.g., the jam). The writing style is juvenile and condescending, and I found it almost painful to read.

I don't like giving reviews like this, but I can't in good conscience recommend this book. It reads like an example of how not to write a children's book.

Thank you to NetGalley and Kelli Hughes Books for providing a digital ARC.

Premise: 1/5
Meter: n/a
Writing: 1/5
Illustrations: 1/5
Originality: 1/5

Enjoyment: 0/5

Overall: 0.67 out of 5

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