3 out of 4 stars
Share This Review
With its weasel relatives and a penchant for sleeping most of the day, a ferret isn’t exactly the pet every child dreams of raising, but M. J. Abrams’ book Chubby Wubbles: A Ferret’s Tale is trying to change that fact. A short book illustrated by photographs, this children’s tale tells the story of the ferret, Chubby.
Just before Chubby the ferret moves into a new home, his lifelong friend and fellow ferret, Coco, mysteriously goes missing. Chubby is distressed by her absence, but he is soon distracted by his transition into a new home. As the reader peruses the book, he or she will learn what kinds of trouble Chubby will find as he explores his new surroundings and whether he will ever meet up with his dear friend Coco again.
The photograph illustrations in this book made it special. In children’s books, pictures are especially important because they keep nonreaders and beginning readers engaged in the story and bring the characters to life. Especially for children who may never have encountered a ferret before, the photographs will make the story feel very real. Some readers might prefer to have the human characters Mark and Jeffrey included in the photographs, but others might use their absence to imagine themselves in the humans’ places.
The writing itself was adequate, but it could be improved. There were no obvious spelling or grammar errors, and the story stayed away from difficult words, for the most part. However, the writing seems hastily put together and focuses more on telling the story than showing it. The point of view is unclear, as sometimes the storytelling seems to emanate from the humans’ perspective while at other times it seems to switch to Chubby’s perspective. The author glosses over details and small events that potentially could have been excellent plot points. The initial search for Coco in the very beginning, for example, could have been drawn out a bit in order to show Chubby’s love for his friend.
The dual plot-line would also be a debatable detail. In a book that is only 24 pages long (including photographs), there is a lot of ground to cover. This means that plot developments happen rapidly with little contemplation ahead of time or reflection after the fact. There were plenty of spaces where it seemed like the material begged for elaboration so as to explore a feeling or a phenomenon. It feels like Chubby could be a feature character in a series of books derived from this one if the plot were thoroughly explored.
As the book stands, I rate it 3 out of 4 stars. Chubby Wubbles: A Ferret’s Tale is unique among children’s books by virtue of the photographic illustrations and the species of its main character. The lack of errors also contributes to its high rating. With that acknowledged, the book could still be improved, and I hope the author does revisit the text in order to draw out its full potential as a story. Maybe there will be some children who start hoping for their own pet ferrets just like in the book.
View: on Bookshelves
Like L_Therese's review? Post a comment saying so!