Book Review: When Randolph Turned Rotten
A book about feelings, well done, is a goldmine for teachers, parents, and students. In my opinion, here’s what “well done” means:
- The story stands on its own, and the lesson isn’t forced. If things are forced, you start getting into “And now on a very special episode of…”-territory. You know, like when your favorite sitcom all of a sudden gets serious? Readers need to be drawn into the story first, before they are clobbered over the head with the message.
- The approach is fresh. If you’re going to be telling a story about feelings, it’s gotta be inventive.
- It’s something youngsters can relate to. The feelings presented in the book should be emotions that kids have dealt with before.
Well, lets look at a summary of “When Randolph Turned Rotten”, to see if it boasts the qualities listed above:
Randolph (a beaver) and his best friend Ivy (a goose) live together in a big city high-rise. The two are inseparable. When Ivy receives an invitation to an “all girl birthday sleepover” and Randolph does not, a mix of feelings overtakes him.
“And that’s when Randolph’s insides changed from very-best-friend insides to horrible, rotten, awful, and icky insides.”
The beaver does his best to ruin things for Ivy, offering to help pack so he can sabotage the trip (a bag full of logs have a tendency to do that). But Randolph’s efforts backfire, and he wonders if Ivy will ever be his friend again.
A story that stands firmly on two legs? Check.
A fresh approach? Yep.
Something young readers can relate to? Affirmative.
“When Randolph Turned Rotten” is well done indeed. Some great comic moments and wonderful acrylic illustrations sweeten the pot. Call up your 49er friends – gold has been struck.
Find this book at your local library with WorldCat.
About Travis Jonker
Travis Jonker is an elementary school librarian in Michigan. He writes reviews (and the occasional article or two) for School Library Journal and is a member of the 2014 Caldecott committee. You can email Travis at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.
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