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Review: Beyond a Large Steep Hill

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Title:Beyond a Large Steep Hill

Author:Leigh Belrose

Series: Standalone

Rating: ★ ★ ✩ ✩ ✩

*Note:I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

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Synopsis

This book chronicles Everett’s adventure as he tumbles over a large steep hill. He goes on to take part in many different adventures, some of which are inspired by nursery rhymes (Goldilocks, Jack and Jill). It’s almost like an Alice in Wonderland type thing (or at least it was shooting for it).

divider-51Favorite Characters

I didn’t have a favorite character for this book. I think Everett is probably the closest because most of the other characters that he ran into throughout the book were… strange. I couldn’t connect to or like any of the other characters he ran into his adventure. I think I may have liked the beaver and the bears, but not much else.

divider-51Favorite Scenes

► This seemed very dark for a children’s boo, although it was not the worst of it. I think this book tried very hard to be whimsical but phrases like this made Everett seem older and with a much darker mind.

I’ve heard once that someone had been tortured to death for telling a bad joke, but tickling someone to death, now that’s torture!” thought Everett to himself.

► This was easily the most disturbing of the scenes I read in this book. I found it to be really gross and I could connect with Everett on this. It was indeed, disgusting.

“Bogeyyyy!” the Lyrebird yelped at the top of his lungs, for the golf ball had quite unexpectedly, become lodged inside his buttock hole. Immediately the Lyrebird leapt into the air, pressing his wing hard against his stomach, as he continued on shouting–When all of a sudden, out came the golf ball from his end, plummeting downward from the sky, finally, landing with a PLONK on top of Everett’s little head.

“Ewwww, owwee,” cried Everett in disgust, as he began wiping away the gooey mess, which was now dripping down from his little head.

► Another issue with the book was just the grammar itself. There were a few misspelled or incorrect words, and sentences tended to run on forever with commas.

“You’ll have to pay more attention to your punctuation, boy, if you want your sentencing to be shortened,” remarked the Lyrebird, with a sly smirk on his face.

► This was just a strange train of thought. Not that it was Everett’s first. Initially, he tumbles down the hill and is thinking about food while rolling. He even sticks his tongue out at some point before coming to the sane conclusion that it’s a bad idea because he might hurt himself.

“A waterfall!” exclaimed Everett, with an air of excitement. For you see, Everett was quite fond of waterfalls, for they reminded him of the wild berries, which he had once tasted on his Grandparent’s farm (how they compared to a waterfall, I could not fathom myself), however so, they were sensationally tasty and here, Everett began making slurpy noises with his mouth.

“No slurping on this boat boy, really now, you must learn to control that tongue of yours,” said the Beaver, who was beginning to get rather upset with Everett’s bad manners.

► There were also some times when sentences were redundant or kinda silly (not in a good way). In this one, he already mentioned it was strange but is somehow surprised that it unfolds in a “strange manner”.

“Strange, it unfolds alright. However, on a weird angle, nothing like the usual ladder I have seen back at home,” he thought, as he tried working out how the stepladder functioned. And as Everett slowly began pulling out the stepladder, surprisingly, he discovered it unfolded in such a strange manner.

divider-51Review

I wanted to start off saying that this is a children’s book since I know most of what I post on here is YA related (a few adult books thrown in there too). Just wanted to clarify before I jumped right in.

This book gave off the feeling of going for an Alice in Wonderland and cheesy-narrator-interjecting-his-thoughts-now-and-then type of feel (almost like Emperor’s New Groove). However, it fell a little short due to some issues with the voice and description. I won’t put plot there simply because I think this book was meant to be a jumble of ideas. Perhaps it didn’t go as well as I had hoped, but nonetheless, it was not the biggest issue.

At times Everett would use language that seemed far beyond his age. At other times it was the actual text that had a language too advanced for a children’s book in general. This was something that could have been/could be easily fixed with some editing on the author’s part. With a little restructuring, it could age Everett down and make him more appealing.

Although the different chapters/events that Everett took part in were meant to be a collection of “whimsical” adventures–strange, even–there were some really unforgivable scenes. One was the golf ball going into the Lyrebird’s “buttock hole” and then landing in a “gooey” mess on Everett’s head. That alone was almost enough for me to put this book down because of how strange and inappropriate I considered it for a children’s book. The others weren’t quite as bad, but still strange.

One of the last issues kinda just falls into a big category of grammar and style. I think the author had an interesting idea going with changing words to be smaller or larger to emphasize certain things. One recommendation for this would probably be to use it more sparingly. I think it’s more impactful when it doesn’t heavily saturate the writing. This also goes to putting words in all caps (LIKE THIS). Aside from this, there were a few misspelled or misused words throughout the book, but not too many. I think just having someone look over it in careful detail and doing some editing would really make this book stronger.

However, one of the best things about this book was definitely the illustrations. They were simple but very cute. I enjoyed seeing them throughout the book and they added a very nice touch with the scenes they chose to draw (except the golf ball one).

This was a book that had potential, but unfortunately did not quite reach the level of “whimsical” for me.

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