Today’s book review is for Because I Stubbed My Toe, by Shawn Byous, published by Capstone Young Readers. It is scheduled to be released on February 1, 2014. I received a free electronic copy of this book from the publisher, through NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.
Because I Stubbed My Toe is a hilarious take on the butterfly effect theory for the 5-7 year old set. One morning a boy stubs his toe, which sets in motion a wild chain of events including a bike dash, an elephant dash and more. By the end, the boy has a sore toe, a treat, and one heck of a story to tell.
The writing style is a lot of fun. Each page leaves you hanging with a lead-in to the next part of the chain reaction. It’s a great way to draw kids into the story and keep their interest. I think that it’s a particularly effective technique in this book, because the events that transpire grow increasingly ridiculous. The language used is direct and age appropriate, with a nice variety of verbs.
The illustrations add a lot to the story. My favorite part about them is that the background is presented in muted grey tones, while the primary action for each page is vibrantly colored. It creates a greater sense of depth and dimension in the illustrations, without detracting attention from the focal point. The overall style is cartoonish, which complements the action and absurdity of the story. Drawings were hand rendered, and then digitally colored. Original sketch lines were not fully erased, which creates a sense of movement within each image.
This a great book to introduce kids to ideas like cause-and-effect or chain reactions. It might also be used to explore unintended consequences–sometimes we don’t mean to do something, but our reactions still result in that outcome. On the other hand, it’s also a book that can just be enjoyed as solid entertainment. It’s a great choice for a reluctant reader with a great sense of humor, too. I’m giving the book 4 stars for entertaining story, lively illustrations, and solid book design.
You can find more information about this book, including other reviews, at Goodreads.