- Book Style: Storybook for toddlers and children
- Reading Level: 2 (Read with Help due to: some mid-level vocabulary)
- Reading Length: 5-7 minutes (FYI – we never account for toddler questions)
- Illustration: Colorful, simplistic
- Age Target: 2-6 Years of Age
The Year of the Rooster is a book for toddlers about a rooster’s journey from sadness to happiness and everything in between. Like most roosters, this one spends lots of his time crowing. For obvious reasons, some people like this and others don’t. As a result of his loud crowing, the rooster is forced to leave his home and to find another. When he finally finds a happy home, he meets a hen who becomes the love of his life and they start a family. In the end, the rooster goes from being homeless to declaring this year the “Year of the Rooster”!
My favorite part of The Year of the Rooster isn’t just about the book. What I’ve found out as I’ve looked a little through this book and through the author’s Amazon page is that the author really loves animals. He writes stories that are inspired by his pets, which he in turn uses to inspire all of our children. What I like about this is there’s a clear want to not only write cute stories, but to bring a little awareness about animals. A.J. also seems to be trying to give children something to shoot for through his story, and that’s what I like so much about this book.
The story in this book is completely sweet. Children are always excited by stories that bring hope to someone who is/was down on their luck. They love to hear about a happy ending and they really like it when they can relate that happy ending to their own life. What this story does so well is start off with a character/rooster who is down on his luck. What it ends with is a happy little family, but we see the progression all the way through. Kids can easily relate those moments when they’ve struggled to those moments of pure achievement and/or happiness.
Something else I really enjoy about this book is its simplicity. It’s not a hard story to read and I think it’s one of the first books that I’ve reviewed that I felt like my toddler could try and read on his own. The author hasn’t filled the book with words just for the sake of making it long. He has told his story without forcing all of us parents to read for an hour…which you know I like!
The illustrations in this book stay with this idea of simplicity. Arsalan Razzaq (our illustrator) has used simple drawings to tell the story without creating a giant distraction. I think this works with the book, as the rooster really becomes the focal point of every page’s illustration; there wasn’t a page that I didn’t immediately look at the rooster after reading the words.
The illustrations also have this rural feel to them, which is very consistent with the story in the book. There weren’t many illustrations that didn’t have the colors and feel of a farm setting (unless of course the setting wasn’t rural). It’s really clear to me that our illustrator thought about this before creating each illustration, and I like seeing that kind of forethought in my first few readings of a book. It tells me that the story was constructed with a lot of thought.
As I said earlier in the review, A.J. is an animal lover who writes stories about his pets. The Year of the Rooster isn’t his first book, as he has four other stories about cats. Here are the links to those books:
- Kitty Witty’s Bedtime Story
- Kitty Witty’s Big Adventure
- Kitty Witty and the Secret Room
- A Kitty and his Dream
Finally, what I can say about this book is that it’s a lovely, simple story with nice illustrations. My favorite part is still the fact that the author is really working to inspire children with this story, and I think that shines through. A.J. Fontaine has suggested 2-9 years as the recommended age on Amazon, but I’ll suggest that you could go down to the ripe old age of 1…easily.
Depending on their reading level, you may be able to leave this one with them to read on their own too, which is a nice plus. The pricing for this book is extremely reasonable too, with the Kindle version being under $3 USD and the paperback version being under $10 USD. Use the link below to go ahead and purchase The Year of the Rooster off of Amazon.com!
Thanks for reading,