The Miniature World of Marvin & James
Masterpiece Adventures Book 1
By Elise Broach, published 2014
“Under the kitchen sink, where the beetles live, there is an art studio just for Marvin. James gives him paper and ink. He can draw and draw. Marvin loves making pictures. But today he just doesn’t feel like it.”
Right from the start of this children’s book, it’s clear it was written to be completely accessible to young readers. Any child who has mastered their first chapter book can easily read this, and if not, it’s a perfect read-aloud. It has the same characters that made the lovely children’s book, Masterpiece, but toned down for the young child.
It’s an art to create a simple but engaging book for early readers. This children’s book succeeds on several counts. First, there is imagination, as we are in the world as seen by beetles. Second, the writing is clear and simple. Finally, there really is only one message: friendship. In some ways, you could say the book is too simple, but it is important to think of it as something that children can access on their own at 5, 6, or 7 years old, and in that sense, I think it works quite well.
I look forward to sharing this book with some of my reading students, and also preparing them for the ability to read the more advanced children’s book, Masterpiece, when they are old enough. A great addition to first chapter books for new readers. And since it is titled Book 1, happily there must be others coming along.