For any of you Apprentice fans out there, the new series only began five weeks ago, and if you watched this week’s, you’ll know each group was asked to create a children’s book and sell as many copies as they can. My Dad managed to get his hands on these copies and so I’m reviewing them here today!
Bizzie’s First Adventure – Group 1
The opening line gives a hint as to how the rest of the book goes; badly. The attempted rhymes are more often than not half-rhymes, something that children won’t understand. Group 1 have tried to rhyme “bee” with “honey” and “sudden” with “pollen” which just doesn’t work. Children need easy rhymes that they can comprehend. They are not like adults in that we can easily spy half-rhymes and false rhymes whereas children will either understand rhyme or not.
Something else children need is continuity, and this book doesn’t maintain the same form throughout. The verse lengths vary from two lines to four lines, but the rhyme also varies in a similar way. The rhymes start in rhyming couplets, before changing to two lines of rhyme followed by another line that doesn’t rhyme at all:
“When he landed he saw a bear/ Enjoying some honey way over there/ Bizzie thought, “I must make a pot of my own!” ” This final sentence isn’t needed, especially because it doesn’t rhyme, but also because it doesn’t fit in with the form of the previous pages. Rhyme can be extremely effective in most cases, but here, it is very forced and feels like the group attempted to find a rhyme and then thought of a sentence to fit.
Children’s stories always have a moral at the end, as children read books to learn manners and morals, politeness in society. However, apart from the drawings, the ending was the most disappointing part of this story. The plot is about a bee called Bizzy who is trying to make his honey. However, the story does not tell of Bizzy learning how to make honey and creates it all by himself (a much better ending for children) but he appears to ‘find’ his hive and then “give his friend a high-five”. Once again the rhyme is ineffective, but the verse is in four lines, not in keeping with the the verse lengths of the rest of the book.
Snottydink – Group 2
I absolutely loved this book. The only fault I have is that, similar to the first book, the rhyme was not the same throughout. Ninety percent of the book is in verses of 4 lines made up of two rhyming couplets. The rhyme isn’t forced, and it is never in half rhyme:
“Snottydink has one trunk like nose
Bright blue eyes and never grows.
His skin is green and scaly too
And of his kind there are few.”
The book flows so well, and the illustrations are fabulous and so original. As demonstrated in the picture below, the writing and the illustrations flow into one through the use of onomatopoeia, using “Ah choo” to rhyme with “ado”. Children love this kind of interaction, as they can get involved, making noises while they are read to by their parents.
What makes this book so incredible is the moral of the story. Snottydink can only blow water out of his nose, unlike the rest of the dinks who blow fire. Snottydink comes across some flowers who are looking a bit withered so he gives them water, and realises that being different has benefits. He reaches a fire and puts it out with his nose, and the final sentence goes:
“Always be proud and never try to cover/ what makes you unique and unlike any other”. This is such a brilliant moral for children. They are allowed to be different, and being different is not a bad thing. It even has its benefits.
The winners of the challenge on the Apprentice (look away now if you’re yet to watch it!) was….
…Group 1! I know, I couldn’t believe it either. Group 2 lost (even though they clearly had a better book) because their sales pitch “couldn’t have gone any worse”, according to Lord Sugar’s right-hand lady, Karren Brady.
Overall, a disappointing result. I really enjoyed the Snottydink book, and I thought it was much more suited to the age group (3-5) they were writing for.