Sunday, January 20, 2019

Review - Love Big

Love Big
by Kat Kronenberg
illustrated by David Miles
Date: 2019
Publisher: Greenleaf Book Group
Reading level: C
Book type: picture book
Pages: 27
Format: e-book
Source: NetGalley

2018 Mom's Choice Awards Gold Award Recipient

Set in the heart of the African Savanna, Love Big follows moody Baboon as he discovers another powerful secret.

The once lush, thriving, African savanna has turned dry and desolate. Hungry, miserable, and mean animals seek only their own interests. Baboon watches as, one by one, Rhinoceros destroys Termite’s castle in his race to find food, Hare chooses not to share food with her family, and Lion steals food from his pride.

But after Baboon sees Rhinoceros give Hare his snack-on-a-stick, everything changes! Baboon realizes that a transformative power exists between the animals and the star-dust that surrounds them once they share smiles and truly believe in themselves and each other. When Baboon tries out this secret by helping Lion, they share a smile, and CATCH-M, The Magical, Mystical, Miraculous Star-dust that surrounds them, whooshes into their lives to wham! ignite the courage in their chests too. Read on to see if Baboon can save the savanna with this new secret and a very stinky, unlikely hero . . .

Love Big takes place generations after the magic in Kat Kronenberg’s best-selling book, Dream Big. This new book's beautiful message makes it a wonderful gift for those who want to build a loving WE community—from home to school, neighborhoods, church, or travel. If people can begin to encourage one another to pursue their passions—with kindness, sharing, listening, and care—we can overcome anything and achieve extraordinary dreams together.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

I don't even know what I just read. The instruction manual for a new children's cult? Half the time, I thought the author must've been high on something.

Look, there's nothing wrong with writing books to inspire. But this one just hits you over the head. Also, it's weird. The pages of notes at the end further contribute to the feelings of confusion and disorientation. The termites are supposedly leaving hints throughout the book, like little riddles to be solved, but when I looked at the answers, I thought they were pretty obscure (and I'm coming at it as an adult reader). The notes are also strange because they talk about stuff that wasn't even mentioned in the book itself. This "CATCH-M" business is only talked about in the synopsis and the end notes. I'm still not sure what this kiddie acid trip is all about:

CATCH-M is the name of The Magical, Mystical, Miraculous Star-dust that surrounds us, who can “WHOOSH” into our lives when INVITED by SHARED SMILES to “WHAM” IGNITE through our belief the gift of STAR-DUST in our CHESTS, giving us the extra faith and courage we need to LOVE big & achieve our DREAMS.

Baby Baboon came up with this catchy nickname as our reminder. She also has some fun things you can do alone, with family, friends, or in a classroom to celebrate LOVE as we all go on adventures to “catch CATCH-M” too-gather!

(That's copied and pasted from the end notes. If you can decipher that, you'll probably like this book more than I did.)

The whole "too-gather" business (what does that even mean?) and the overly modern and colloquial language in the rest of the book just turned me right off. There's talk of poop, bums, being buff, animals calling each other "dude"... And don't even get me started on the punctuation of the dialogue.

Some of the illustrations are quite nice to look at; they're perhaps the book's only saving grace. Unfortunately, the rest of it is just a chaotic mess.

Thank you to NetGalley and Greenleaf Book Group for providing a digital ARC.

Premise: 1/5
Meter: n/a
Writing: 0/5
Illustrations: 2/5
Originality: 1/5

Enjoyment: 0/5

Overall: 0.67 out of 5

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