The Sixteen Sweet Books Challenge Cozy #1 #CBR16SweetBooks
Cozy for me means easy, simple, I do not have to “think” to hard, but I can enjoy and even learn something. I could see myself curled up reading these to my nephews or my soon official great-niece (I’ve adopted several unofficial nieces/nephews and greats over the years)
I was reading my online reader copies and found two Jonathan Roth titles. Okay, I found one that I came to realize was actually the second book, so I went looking for the first one. And though book one is from October 2022, I still was able to locate it online (which is rare for the site I use). Which thankfully I was able to, as book one explains a few things in the second book, plus tells how the two robots meet. The robots in question are Rover and Speck. Rover is an older female presenting rover that likes to explore. They are by-the-book and are not exactly flexible (they are multiple square, boxed shapes after all), but they learn to grasp Speck’s enthusiasm. Speck is special (in all the meanings of that word). They are probably a six to nine-year-old boy, who is curious and acts first and maybe thinks fourth or fifth. Or over-thinks. He has most of the puns and the unintended (by him) funny moments. Several of these moments might go over the child reader’s head, but adults will get it.
We follow our two adventurers in two cute stories about exploring, science, problem solving and friendship. The characters and tone are modern but the illustrations feel “old school” bright and fun images that reminded me a little bit of some 1980s-1990s cartoons, but also keep the modern reader’s attention. They are light and simple, all the while supporting the text. Humorous is the name of the game and facts are the goals. Rover and Speck: This Planet Rocks! is book one. Here we find Rover landing on a planet, trying to find life forms, finding Speck buried in the sand, and meeting a primitive rock-people culture. Roth “slips” in science by talking about solar panels, sounds, and other facts within the story but also includes “Fact Boxes” on the side to give you more details. This allows for the book to have growth potential as the listen levels are five to seven and the reading level six to eight. And this is all the same for Rover and Speck: Splash Down! This time we deal with oceans, a whale like animal, and fears (which do play a part in the other one as well). The themes are mixed, but the focus is usually the “one piece of science” (the rocks and the ocean animal) the book is about. Both books have familiar parts, but book two (published in October 2023) has one of my favorite familiar moments when we have “inside the whale Pinoccio-like” scenes. I also liked book two slightly more than one as we follow a theme I don’t usually see in science books. Which is the symbiotic relationship of some animals. This is represented by the actual way (such as fish becoming dentists and cleaning other animals teeth of the bacteria, etc.) and allows for the example of how Rover and Speck are a team, too. The language and concepts are given in ways so most people will relate and most ages can understand.
Both have some extras at the end, so they are busy and fun, yet are not overwhelming. You can use these books in the classroom or for your child solo. I am assuming they are going to be a smaller size, so they might not work as a large group read-aloud, but will make for cozy moments one-on-one.