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Official Review: Little rue makes stew by Dan Jilg

Posted: 22 Oct 2019, 17:59
by EvaDar
[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "Little rue makes stew" by Dan Jilg.]
Book Cover
2 out of 4 stars
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Little Rue Makes Stew is the first in a series of children’s books inspired by author Dan Jilg’s three small boys. Little Rue, a young kangaroo, awaits his papa’s return from work and is excited to help his mother make stew for dinner. While Mom cuts up the ingredients, Rue adds them to the stew. Rue learns to wash his hands, peel potatoes and now knows the stove can be dangerous. When Papa gets home, Rue takes some much-deserved credit for helping with dinner.

I enjoyed the book’s illustrations. The drawings are loose, creative and consistent. The animal’s faces are very expressive and engaging. I think kids would find them fun. Beyond the illustrations, this book’s liabilities add up quickly.

The overall presentation is pleasing, but the technical problems start on the first page. My pdf version of the book has significant editing problems. The book begins with an unnamed section that appeared to be an author biography. It was a series of sentence fragments that seemed like notes rather than a finished product. There were six errors in this short paragraph. The total error count was high for a short children’s book.

The author’s stated intention is to instill in children that “anything is possible in this life.” I couldn’t derive that from this story. Rue didn’t overcome shyness or fear of the dark, or push the edge of possibility in any way. I do understand that helping his mom cook, following instructions, and learning to avoid the stove are important bonding and learning activities. Nothing that happened. however, rose to the level of the author’s aspiration.

Rue is making a stew with vegetables and “meat that’s good for you.” The book ends with Little Rue proudly telling his papa that he made some good “Rue Stew” for dinner. Well, on a very large continent on our globe, Roo Stew is a common dish made with…yes, kangaroo meat. Certainly, most kids in the Northern Hemisphere would not be aware of this, but parents might, and the author should have been. I couldn’t shake it while reading. It appears the book has been marketed internationally. I don’t imagine the irony would be overlooked in Australia.

For the engaging illustrations and admirable intention, I rate Little Rue Makes Stew 2 out of 4 stars. The high incidence of editing errors and the story that fell short cost the two stars. The unfortunate animal husbandry oversight was glaring to me but may not be noticed by everyone, so I did not penalize the author for it in the rating. I think pre-school-aged kids will enjoy the illustrations and will relate to helping mom, but they will not emerge having witnessed any important life lessons or grand possibilities.

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Little rue makes stew
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Re: Official Review: Little rue makes stew by Dan Jilg

Posted: 04 Nov 2019, 16:13
by spluficvictory
A children series. That's interesting. Sorry it fell short of the mark. Superb review by the way

Re: Official Review: Little rue makes stew by Dan Jilg

Posted: 04 Nov 2019, 19:58
by Helene_2008
I like how you picked up on the Rue Stew. I wonder how the author overlooked that. Sounds like the book has a decent message but not the one promised by the author.

Re: Official Review: Little rue makes stew by Dan Jilg

Posted: 04 Nov 2019, 20:26
by Miller56
Thanks for the review. I think the illustrations sound amazing. It is unfortunate that the author didn't really get the message of being able to accomplish anything in life accomplished. It sounds like an interesting story that is probably good for youngsters to help adults discuss bonding with children. However, it sounds like a lot of editing is necessary. I will pass on this one.

Re: Official Review: Little rue makes stew by Dan Jilg

Posted: 04 Nov 2019, 20:31
by kandscreeley
The book sounds cute; it's too bad there are a high number of errors, though. Children's books should be even more carefully edited. I hope the author can revise this. Thanks.

Re: Official Review: Little rue makes stew by Dan Jilg

Posted: 04 Nov 2019, 23:10
by EvaDar
spluficvictory wrote:
04 Nov 2019, 16:13
A children series. That's interesting. Sorry it fell short of the mark. Superb review by the way
Thank you for the comments and for dropping by.

Re: Official Review: Little rue makes stew by Dan Jilg

Posted: 04 Nov 2019, 23:12
by EvaDar
Helene_2008 wrote:
04 Nov 2019, 19:58
I like how you picked up on the Rue Stew. I wonder how the author overlooked that. Sounds like the book has a decent message but not the one promised by the author.
You are right. There wasn't anything wrong with the helping-mom theme. It just was did not reach the author's intended goal. Thanks!

Re: Official Review: Little rue makes stew by Dan Jilg

Posted: 04 Nov 2019, 23:13
by EvaDar
kandscreeley wrote:
04 Nov 2019, 20:31
The book sounds cute; it's too bad there are a high number of errors, though. Children's books should be even more carefully edited. I hope the author can revise this. Thanks.
I agree. Children's books do need to be edited well. I appreciate you dropping by.

Re: Official Review: Little rue makes stew by Dan Jilg

Posted: 05 Nov 2019, 08:12
by La Cabra
Oof the bit about Roo Stew, I'm not sure if I find it hilarious or disturbing but either way, I think the author would well to change the name of the main character!
I personally don't mind children's books that don't feature their characters overcoming their fears too much. I read books to kids quite a lot, and when the books get too preachy, they just start asking too many dumb questions. Maybe that's just the kids I have to deal with though, haha.
I think the main character helping mom and dad is good enough a lesson for the kids.
But great review, and kudos to you for picking up on the stew bit!

Re: Official Review: Little rue makes stew by Dan Jilg

Posted: 05 Nov 2019, 09:44
by ButterscotchCherrie
I do like it when children's books feature authentic illustrations instead of CGI. The author must "rue" that homophone problem, though!

Re: Official Review: Little rue makes stew by Dan Jilg

Posted: 09 Nov 2019, 05:27
by EvaDar
ButterscotchCherrie wrote:
05 Nov 2019, 09:44
I do like it when children's books feature authentic illustrations instead of CGI. The author must "rue" that homophone problem, though!
:lol: Thanks for dropping in, my clever friend.

Re: Official Review: Little rue makes stew by Dan Jilg

Posted: 09 Nov 2019, 05:32
by EvaDar
La Cabra wrote:
05 Nov 2019, 08:12
Oof the bit about Roo Stew, I'm not sure if I find it hilarious or disturbing but either way, I think the author would well to change the name of the main character!
I personally don't mind children's books that don't feature their characters overcoming their fears too much. I read books to kids quite a lot, and when the books get too preachy, they just start asking too many dumb questions. Maybe that's just the kids I have to deal with though, haha.
I think the main character helping mom and dad is good enough a lesson for the kids.
But great review, and kudos to you for picking up on the stew bit!
I completely agree with you about simple messages being best for kid's books. The reason I mentioned it was that the story and message were so far removed from the author's aspirations for the book. It was a cute book (save the Roo Stew issue), but certainly didn't instill in children that all things are possible. Thanks so much for stopping by.

Re: Official Review: Little rue makes stew by Dan Jilg

Posted: 09 Nov 2019, 05:50
by Miriam Molina
Kangaroos are herbivores. So why would they be eating meat? That's a major boo-boo for me. Maybe the author should have stuck with the classic porridge.

Re: Official Review: Little rue makes stew by Dan Jilg

Posted: 09 Nov 2019, 06:37
by EvaDar
Miriam Molina wrote:
09 Nov 2019, 05:50
Kangaroos are herbivores. So why would they be eating meat? That's a major boo-boo for me. Maybe the author should have stuck with the classic porridge.
Exactly my thought. Thanks for stopping in, Miriam.