- Book Style: Cute horror styled book for toddlers
- Reading Level: 2 (Reading With Help due to: mid-range length and some difficult vocabulary)
- Reading Length: 7-10 minutes (FYI – we never account for toddler questions)
- Illustration: Cute, horror-style, vivid
- Age Target: 2-10 Years of Age
- Author: Russell J. Dorn
- Author’s Page: Russell J. Dorn
- Book Purchase Page: Main book sale page, Amazon eBook – $3 USD, Amazon Paperback – $9.99 USD
- Social Media Links: Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, YouTube
Felipe Femur is one of the most interesting toddler story books I’ve reviewed in a long time. The story begins with us meeting Felipe, who’s bored and lonely. He sets out to see his friends, in turn finding out that each one of them has an issue. After he helps his friend, they seem to offer him things he can’t use (sunscreen, anyone?). He then turns away sad and a little distraught, and heads for home. When he gets there, he finds all of his friends there. They’ve recognized that he was feeling a little down and so they’ve come to throw him a party!
Now let me address the elephant skeleton in the room. This book is stylized a lot like Plants Vs. Zombies, and so it’s easy to imagine a toddler getting scared. Well, let me tell you this. My guy didn’t even flinch. In fact, he thought Felipe was so cool. He instantly asked me to flip through the pages and then he told me all about how witches and vampires only came out on Halloween (thanks buddy). There was no fear in him, and to be honest, I expected a little of it. He has a vivid imagination and yet, the story drew him right in.
Speaking of the story, I think it’s the best part of the book. Yes, it’s a story about a little skeleton who travels from friend to friend. Yes, they do stuff and that’s all well and good. However, the story is sneaky in that it’s actually a story about friends helping each other. They’re a supportive group of (ahem) people. Their treatment of each other is nothing short of fantastic, and all of this combines to send a very positive message to your toddler. If they didn’t have empathy before…well, they probably still won’t because they’re toddlers but you get the point.
What’s even better about this hidden message is the fact that it’s just left there for your little one to absorb. There’s no hitting your child over the head with a hefty message, it’s just part of the story and they will hear and consider it.
Now, I’ve spent some time getting to know a bit about the author (Russell J. Dorn) and I have to say that I’m pretty impressed. Frankly, he’s more motivated than I’ll ever be and he’s obviously written more books than you can shake a stick at. Why do I say this? Well, first off, I checked his webpage. Secondly, he formats this book in a way that ensures toddlers and children will understand and learn from the story.
See, Russell has used repetition to tell the story and to deliver his message. He’s not just explaining it once, but instead telling the story time and time again to ensure it’s understood. Felipe helps three different friends with their problems, and so we see just how good of a friend he is. We also hear his frustration three separate times when his friends offer him something he can’t use. All together, this repetition really helps your little one learn and isn’t that what reading is all about?
Moving back to what’s the most unique part of Felipe Femur: the illustrations. Like I said, I wasn’t sure about them at first but after testing them on my child, I can honestly say that they’re unbelievable. They’re so clear, crisp, and interesting to look at. Each illustration brings a great number of things for your child to look at and for you to discuss with them. Take the below illustration for example.
Yes, that’s a vampire. He has one fang, sunglasses (with a lens flare), a striped tank top, sunscreen on his nose, a stripe of white hair, and elvish ears that would make Eärwen blush. Whew, that’s a mouthful, and I promise you’ll spend a great deal of time on each page of this book talking about what your little person is looking at.
With illustrations like this, it’s pretty obvious that our author (and his illustrator David Dorn) grew up in a similar time frame to me. Russell even states that he grew up on Goosebumps and Scooby-doo, and I think I read every one of those Goosebumps books. He’s taken quite a bit from those books, but he’s also given this book his own look and feel.
There’s one other thing to tell you about. Russell has built an indie app development company named ZebraFox games. ZebraFox games has in turn produced a game application for kids to play that focuses on Felipe and his friends. Here’s an intro video that will give you some insight into the fun and wonderful world of Felipe Femur.
Honestly, this is one of my favorite kids books. It instantly became that when I saw the look on my little guy’s face as he saw Felipe for the first time. He absolutely adored the characters and I absolutely adored that he learned something so important from this book. The characters are all great and are being supported by applications, videos, and (I’m sure) other books. All in all, this book is fantastic and is incredibly inexpensive for you to purchase. Head over to Amazon for a $3 USD eBook or a $9.99 USD paperback.
Thanks for reading…with your toddlers,