Thursday, November 14, 2019

Review - Emileen and Jilly Bean

Emileen and Jilly Bean
by A. R. Taylor
illustrated by Felia Hanakata
Date: 2019
Publisher: Mascot Books
Reading level: C
Book type: picture book
Pages: 38
Format: e-book
Source: NetGalley

This beloved book celebrates the joyful love between a young girl and her dog.

Imaginative and whimsical, A.R. Taylor's rhyming words flow, whisking lovable characters away on a series of humorous adventures. With beautiful illustrations and a sprinkle of simple Shakespearean English, this is a book grown-ups will love reading over and over to young children. A great gift for any occasion, but a special standout for baby showers, birthdays, and holidays, Emileen and Jilly Bean is an unforgettable tale of friendship and unconditional love.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

Emileen and Jilly Bean reads a bit like a sugar-induced fever dream. The nonsensical plot is threadbare, seemingly in place only to provide a framework for the weak rhyming text.

Emileen and her dog, Jilly Bean, wake up and frolic through a meadow with two anthropomorphized sheep and a troll. They get to school, where the Queen is waiting. After school, they go to the market. The dog eats some treats, then dumps some presents in a lake. Then the dog inexplicably starts chewing gum and blows a big bubble that encapsulates Emileen, the Queen, the sheep, and the troll, and they fly over the town until the bubble bursts and everyone gets all sticky. Then Emileen and her dog go home to sleep.

The illustrations are perhaps the best part of the story. They're cute and appealing, and Jilly Bean is an adorable dog (even if her actions don't make a lot of sense). I still don't know if the grey sedan has any significance; it anachronistically appears more than once in a world that seems like it has an old-fashioned fairy tale setting.

The story and writing are the weakest part. The plot is nonsense and has no flow. And the rhyming text is awkward, made even worse by the fact that the rhyming words are italicized; this makes it glaringly obvious when the words don't rhyme (which happens a few times).

With a better story, this could have been a cute children's picture book. I'm afraid the text, as it is, just doesn't measure up to the illustrations. Check the book out for the pictures, but don't expect any coherent story to go along with them.

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

Premise: 1/5
Meter: 2/5
Writing: 2/5
Illustrations: 3/5
Originality: 2/5

Enjoyment: 1/5

Overall: 1.71 out of 5

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