Nelson ‘N Deck: How the Adventures Began
C. M. Gillott
48 Pages Ages: 4 to 8
Back Cover: London is a magical city with big, bright lights and wonderful, historical, places and sights to visit and enjoy all year round. These are the stories about and eleven-year-old boy called Jack and his ten-year-old sister, Keira, who moved to London with their parents and discovered a magical world that only a few lucky people ever get to see and experience.
By chance one day, they met a funny-looking pigeon and a big, red, old, open-topped London Routemaster bus on a visit to the London Transport Museum. It was the beginning of lots of wonderful adventures for them, and along the way they got introduced to many great, new friends in London.
John, 12, and his sister Keira, 10, have moved from a country home to the city of London. While mom and dad unpack the house, Jack and Keira visit their grandparents. Grandpa is the caretaker at the London Transportation Museum and takes the kids with him to close up the museum for the night. While grandpa closes up the museum, the kids stumbled upon a closed room. Kids being kids, they entered the off-limits area.
Inside the storage area were older taxicabs and street buses, gathered for a special exhibit. The kids meet Nelson, a pigeon who has developed a relationship with many of the taxicabs and buses—young and old—in London. One of those buses is Deck, an old, open-top, red, double-decker bus. Later that night, Nelson and Deck give the kids a tour of London.
An introduction tells us about Jack and Keira, their moving to London and then meeting Nelson and Deck who will take them on adventures around London. Then the story starts with the kids moving, going to the museum and meeting Nelson and Deck, then sneaking out late at night for a tour of the city aboard Deck, with Nelson as the tour guide. The introduction could have, and should have, been cut from the book. The introduction is the ominous “Tell” in a world that needs to be “Show.”
A good story needs a problem to solve or overcome and some conflict to change the characters. There is no conflict in the story. At first, the kids are upset about moving, but that slipped away once they reached the grandparents’ home. The kids sneaking into the off-limits area or sneaking out after bedtime could have possibly caused a conflict, if the grandparents had not known what was happening and had no fears about either.
The illustrations are full page, one per spread, with color bursting from one edge to the other. The kids and grandparents have large, expressive eyes common to many characters this year. It is easy to get a good idea what the story is about simply by looking at the illustrations.
I hope the book two leans more on an actual story. Rather than simply showing the sights and sounds of London, I’d like to have a mystery occur in or around the London sight. That would let us learn about a new sight, read a good story, see the kids change as they solve the conflict. The series could have a very long life using one or two sites per book. What it needs the most is a good traditional story with a plot, a conflict, and a change in the main character(s) by story’s end.
If you would like to read the interview with author C. M. Gillott, click HERE!
Illustrator: Stacey Roscoe website
Publisher: (SP) Troubador Publishing website
Release Date: May 1, 2011
Number of Pages: 48
Ages: 4 to 8
Copyright ©2011 by C. M. Gillott & Stacey Roscoe, used with permission