Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Abraham's Journey- TOS Review

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The kids and I recently read Abraham’s Journey: A Celebration of the American Dream . I read it out loud to Flower (10), Cub (13) and Feeche (18). While the age range for this book is elementary school I wanted Feeche's input. I had read it previously and needed some objective feed-back. The point of the book is to encourage kids to overcome adversity and reach for their goals, achieving their financial desires and having enough left over to give to others. This point is made by Abraham's  journey through cyber-space, where he meets the following historical figures:
  • Abraham Lincoln
  • Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • Norman Rockwell
  • Amelia Earhart
  • Mark Zuckerberg
  • Bill and Melinda Gates 
  • The back of the book includes a definition of terms such as charity, courage, self-reliance and social media as well as character biographies.

    While this book is colorful and well done as far as lay-out and graphics I had problems with the content. Abraham finds a solution to his families financial woes through a magical mystery tour through cyber-space. He meets an assortment of people that are un-related and non-sequential, ending with 2 of the richest men in the world. Abraham can somehow paint so well that his painting are purchased, again, magically, and he now has money for presents, not only for his family, but for those less fortunate at the homeless shelter.

    This book was confusing to me on a number of different levels:
    1- The Great Recession- introduced on page one- I  haven't heard this term enough to just "know" that it was referring to 2009. I actually had to look this up.
    1- If the parents have lost their jobs, why does a child have a smart phone?
    3- Why did the authors chose the historical figures that they did and why did they go back and forth across time?
    4- The author introduces the reader to people that are dead and alive. All of them contribute to Abraham earning actual money. (more magical thinking)- is Abraham IN the computer or not? Are the people dead or alive? If this book is targeted for elementary students, those who are still in a concrete operations, are they to understand that dead people that they never knew can positively (personally) affect their lives? Is the reader supposed to believe that cyber-space is just as real (or a "new/different" real) as physical reality?
    5- Abraham paints well enough, with no previous background (at least none known to the reader) to capture both Normal Rockwell and Bill Gate's attention. There was no talk of the hard work that goes in to gaining viable job skills.

    While I was excited to be getting this book and share it with my kids, given the description, I was disappointed with its actual content.

    The book is available on the Inspiring the American Dream site for $14.99.

    Read what other Schoolhouse review crew members thought of the book here or click on the picture below:

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    6 comments:

    Clarissa said...

    I also reviewothis book and agree with your points! Great, honest review!

    Pebblekeeper ~ Angie said...

    Great Honest Review. I'd hope if I lived in a neighborhood where all of my son's friends had smart phones to text - that the week after both my husband and I loosing our jobs, we'd have enough money for a box of legos. :) I have different opinions on Christmas Giving - Faith - and trusting in the Lord. The largest stretch was Bill Gates handing a kid that much money. :) (And it then being real)

    Brenda Christmas said...

    My son had a smart phone when he lost his job. It still worked for a month or two after that. A recent job loss wouldn't cause immediate loss of smartphone usage -- especially when the bill had been paid before losing the job.

    Anyway, I don't think it was meant to be a "how-to" book. The fantasy portion would be your first clue ... ;-)

    James E. Lyle said...

    As the illustrator of Abraham's Journey, I really appreciate your kind words about the artwork as well as the text. It is my hope that I'll be able to use your comments to make future children's books I'm hired to illustrate even better.

    LaughingLioness said...

    to be honest I struggles with writing this review because this is not the kind of book I would ever hand my kids. We don't live in an area where kids often have their own phones- let alone smart phones- which was honestly, just a minor issue for me- the big issue with the book was the magical thinking throughout, the belief that what goes on "in" a computer is "real". The fact is, you dont' have "friends" on, much less in a computer- you have a computer.

    LaughingLioness said...

    James- please do ; )