Wednesday, October 14, 2015

BetterNot! And the Tale of Bratsville

Del Vecchio, G. (2015).  BetterNot! And the Tale of Bratsville - Teaching Morals and Manners. Pasadena, CA: BetterNot! Enterprises, LLC.

Children's / Manners / Fantasy
I gave this book 5 of 5 Stars 
Bratsville is an eerie place, surrounded by swamps, where parents are at the end of their ropes because their children are so horribly behaved.  As the parents all warn their kids what they better not do, something magical happens and a purple creature named BetterNot arises from the swamp to teach the naughty kids personalized lessons they will never forget.
 Benjamin Booger picked his nose all day and all night.
No one had ever seen his booger finger in the light.
This book tells it like it is with ill-mannered little kids and BetterNot, the answer to the hapless parents' cries for help.  Author Gene Del Vecchio seems to understand how to lure in the audience and get the point across without being preachy. The kids of Bratsville are over-the-top and completely out-of-control, and the bright, engaging, slightly exaggerated illustrations perfectly reflect the mood and characters of the story.  Even real life offenders will hopefully see the light and value of good manners and respect, and adults may recognize how they inadvertently may contribute to less than desirable behaviors.  This is an ideal book to read aloud to or read along with children, and it lends itself well to discussions about manners and could even be used for a lesson about figurative language.

The book is told in rhyming sentences, but they are not always rhythmic, so it's best not to try and read them to sound musical. There was a lack of punctuation that created run-on sentences (perhaps to aid in the delivery of the rhymes?) and one capitalization error, but they definitely weren't show stoppers and didn't interfere with the delivery.  

Del Vecchio's approach to the subject matter, coupled with the wonderful illustrations by Roderick Fong make this a highly recommended book for parents who want not only results, but lots of giggles from their children. I recommend for kids ages 5-9, but BetterNot could be a little scary for younger or sensitive kids to read alone.

Thank you to the author for providing me a fabulous hardcover copy in exchange for my honest review -- the only kind I give. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Gene Del Vecchio is the author of seven books. His first young adult novel, The Pearl of Anton, was honored with a star review in Booklist, while the sequel, The Sword of Anton, was honored with the Young Adults' Choices Award from the International Reading Association. BetterNot! is his latest book.

A longtime entertainment consultant, Gene has worked for major studios and toy companies and has written extensively on the topic of creating great entertainment, including a book titled Creating Blockbusters. He also teaches at USC. Most importantly, Gene lives in Valencia, California with his wonderful wife, Linda. They are the proud parents of Matthew and Megan.
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