About the book
Title: Lorenzo the Bear: Encounter at Jellyfish Cove Author/Illustrator: Carmela Dutra | Publication Date: Oct. 2013 | Publisher: Pegaus Pony | Pages: 28 | Recommended Ages: 4-8
Ahoy, maties! Author/artist Carmela Dutra brings pre-schoolers and early readers a rollicking yarn about pirates, friendship, and the power of following your dream. Six-year old Neighbor Boy, his mom, Senora Maria, and I read the book and offer our review.
Lorenzo the Bear is different from his friends. Intrigued by pirates, he practices sword fighting daily despite jibes from his friends about the wisdom of doing so. Lorenzo enjoys polishing his sword-handling skills. Besides, he’s convinced that some day this skill will come in handy. Smart bear!
Lorenzo is an easy protagonist for children to love. He demonstrates virtues of wisdom and loyalty as he follows his heart to become a champion swordsman and save his friend from an evil (but not scary) pirate.
Dutra surrounds Lorenzo with a cast of charming animal friends, from a lady bear pal to a toucan and turtle. I would love for Dutra to revisit these characters and flesh them out more. She has written two subsequent Lorenzo books that Neighbor Boy and I look forward to reading and learning more about this kind bear and his friends.
Pencil drawings on each page of Jellyfish Cove provide context clues for early readers in addition to being bright and cheerful. Details in the illustrations are charming and make the story become real for young readers.
The Kindle version we read had an easy-to-use fixed layout. Neighbor Boy had no trouble mastering Kindle’s page turns or zooms to look closely at illustrations. Actually, he rather liked reading on a tablet.
Generally, text was crisp and short, with plenty of white space between lines and paragraphs so as not to overwhelm beginning readers. Lorenzo’s brief length would not intimidate, either. The author also adds challenge words in context for children to discover, such as "confound’ and “overtake.”
NEIGHBOR BOY’S REVIEW
6-years old: first grader and beginning reader
Neighbor Boy practices with his play swords weekly, so he was immediately captivated by Lorenzo through their shared favorite pastime. “Everybody complained about sword-fighting, but they were very wrong in the end,” Neighbor Boy noted.
Neighbor Boy loved the book’s drawings because they “looked like they were painted with crayons.” His favorite character was Lord Boris. “He’s funny because he has a red butt.”
Neighbor Boy and I took turns reading the story aloud and finished in 15 minutes. We both wanted the story to be longer.
SENORA MARIA’S REVIEW
Neighbor boy’s mom
"This book is age-appropriate for beginning readers, with its perfect length and captivating content. It shows friendship between children and the drawings are beautiful for kids. This book could be read to young children by beginning readers as well as parents. It is short and easy to understand, and it appeals to both boys and girls."
Neighbor Boy, Senora Maria, and I recommend Encounter at Jellyfish Cove for preschool through second-grade. With short chapters and delightful drawings, this tale of adventure and friendship appeals to both boys and girls as a first chapter book or favorite bedtime story.
Oh, yes … a must-read for all swashbucklers!
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