by Gordon Briley
Jim Dombrowski, illustrator
Back Cover: The Adventures of Lily and Ava is a rhyming short story series that captures the imaginations of two young girls who are given the freedom to explore their surroundings. The girls seem to find a way to get themselves into entertaining situations where they are forced to solve problems and along the way they learn some valuable lessons.
From PR: In the first story, Lily meets a girl named Ava when her parents force her to welcome a new family into the neighborhood. When Ava’s kitten escapes, the adventure begins! The story ends with an unexpected surprise, and a positive lesson is learned.
First Sentence: Hi! This is my friend Ava, and I am Lily.
The story is told from the viewpoint of Lily. She tells us that this story will show us how the two little girls met. The series will showcase the adventures the two get into while acting goofy and silly.
Lily believes the old house next to her’s is creepy and may be haunted. She refuses to meet the family moving into the house, until her parents demand she go with them to say hello. Despite her fears, when a girl about Lily’s age answers the door holding a kitten, Lily decides things might be okay. The kitten jumps out of Ava’s arms and takes off into the neighborhood. The two girls chase after the cat, who runs up a tree but cannot get down. The girls find a unique way to help the kitten get down, putting a series of mishaps in motion.
New Friendships is a cute book illustrated in bright, welcoming colors little girls will like. The two girls are bright-eyed, spunky, and destined to become best of friends. They work together to capture the runaway kitten. In the middle of the chase, the girls begin having fun, enjoying themselves and each other. Lily learns a lesson by books end.
“Today I learned that I shouldn’t be so afraid,
you never know when there’s a friend to be made.”
I like that the action is non-stop from the time the kitten takes off until a news reporter returns it to the girls. I am not happy that an adult solved the problem. In children’s books the child protagonist is supposed to solve conflict, not an adult or a secondary character. The main character does this, or in this case, it is the co-protagonist’s responsibility. I don’t see the connection between the fear of the creepy house and the lesson of not fearing. I love the two lines above, but it is the house that caused Lily’s fear. She never even entered the house, so I think the lesson is a leap, but a leap most little girls will not catch.
The writing is well-done. The rhyming has consistent meter and is easily read aloud. There are a couple of odd sentences that a little girl typically would not say, but beyond this the story is fast paced and enjoyable. Though not a story that will be read over and over, it does a good job introducing the two little girl of the series.
The press release states this series is a “fresh, non-traditional approach to storytelling.” This is marketing hyperbole. The story-telling is traditional in every sense. Action and dialogue along with animated and engaging characters are the staples of good stories. Nothing rises to the best-seller list without these key components. Lily and Ava are interesting characters that little girls will love, but there is nothing super-exciting or new and different.
(insert 3) New Friendships is a “message” story for little girls that aims to teach different lessons. The cover is inviting and I think little girls will be drawn to it, though this is more appropriate for ages four to eight not two to eight as stated on the back cover. The story is good, with plenty of action and humor as the cat gets into one situation after the other. Only time will tell if The Adventures of Lily and Ava will become a fan favorite. I believe it has the potential, but as a self-published series tough challenges lie ahead.
by Gordon Briley bookfacebook google+ Jim Dombrowski, illustrator website Briley Publishing (SP) website Released on October 15, 2012 Trailers ISBN: 978-0-9860214-0-4 32 pages Ages: 4 – 8
Copyright ©2012 by Gordon Briley, used with permission Text copyright ©2012 by Gordon Briley Illustrations copyright ©2012 by Jim Dombrowski