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Jaden Toussaint, the Greatest Episode 1: The Quest for Screen Time (Volume 1) Paperback – Large Print, June 26, 2015
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Jaden Toussaint, an inquisitive budding scientist with a spectacular Afro, feels like an outsider in his family. While his parents and sister are all bibliophiles, he hates to read: he'd rather get his hands on a tablet. After circulating a petition among his fellow kindergarteners campaigning for more computer time, Jaden's ingenuity is rewarded. This charming first installment in the Jaden Toussaint, the Greatest chapter-book series features succinct but vivid characterizations and abundant humor (the family's pets include a guinea pig that "never has the same name two weeks in a row," and Jaden's father "prefers to be called 'baba,' which means 'father' in Swahili. Does not speak Swahili"). Muravski's b&w illustrations, nicely integrated throughout, are also an asset, enhancing this story's appeal for readers who may be as reluctant as Jaden to pick up a book. Ages 5-7.
About the Author
Marti Dumas is a mother, teacher, and author from New Orleans. She is a contributing writer on education and parenting for Think504 and other publications. An expert in childhood literacy, Marti has worked with children and teachers for the last 15 years to promote an early love of reading. Her debut book, Jala and the Wolves, recently made the top of Amazon.com s bestseller list for children s fantasy and is available in stores and online now.
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Warning, only get this book IF you want the child to actively engage in reading. Because my 6 year old could not be stopped. He devoured this book like nothing before. The character is super relate-able and the book keeps the reader engaged. I can't wait to see what the series holds.
The chapter breaks are perfect. Just as Jaden has an idea or something new needs to be introduced the current chapter ends and the next chapter begins, complete with chapter title that repeats the introduction. So for example Jaden is talking about wanting to get more screen time to play games online and look up facts on the internet. He’s tried begging and asking various people in his family, but nothing has worked. All that changes with Miss Bates, the text says. Cut to the next chapter entitled “Miss Bates Class”. Most of the chapters are like this and, to me, it reads like good comic timing.
The story itself is probably pretty relatable to kids. Jaden has had a taste of screen time and is trying to finagle some more when his teacher assigns homework. One task they can choose for homework is time on the computer, but Jaden’s parents still say no screen time. Jaden decides to create a petition for all the Kindergarteners to sign asking for more screen time on the homework sheet in order to force his parents to give him some. Also, there is a ninja dance break.
The illustrations are fine. There are little nods to some great African Americans and blacks on the wall of Jaden’s room. The beginning also starts out a little graphic-novelish with sparse text scattered around the illustrations as Jaden’s family is introduced. They provide good breaks for the beginning reader. Also a bonus, the trim size is more like a big-kid chapter book (it’s still a little large). Despite the easy language and format it looks less like an easy reader and more like what older kids would want to pick up.
Since our public library didn’t have this one I bought the first book, but I will be purchasing the next couple “episodes” this year. I highly recommend this to collections that need some easy, easy chapter books that look more grown up. I can’t emphasize enough how kid-like the logic is in the story and how that makes it so appealing for a child audience with a good sense of humor and an adult audience who is familiar with dealing with that logic. Kids love humorous books and this fits the bill perfectly.
Jaden wants what most kids his age want: more screen time. The problem: his parents won't heed to his desire, thus, he concocts various plans to go about achieving his goal, his mantra for motivation being to "try and try until you succeed". While Jaden is clearly advanced for his age, he is not only a likeable character but also a relatable one. There are a lot of lessons to be learned in this book, topics to be discussed, activities to undertake. This story encourages independent thinking, which, I find, is lacking in many children's books.
While I did love the illustrations, I would have preferred it if they were in colour as opposed to black and white. It just didn't seem fitting for the concept. It was a beautiful book that will appeal to all cultures / families.
This is a quest most kids his age are probably all about but when a new homework assignment backs up his quest Jaden thinks he has his problem solved. When it’s not working he figures a new route.
This is a very funny story and a relatable character. Jaden is written so well you feel as if you know him or he is one of the family. His thoughts fit the story and his personality perfect. A great overall read for young ones and older ones as well.
The fact that it is 'screen time', is something I imagine some parents won't be very fond of, but I believe it is completely normal and the right way to go about it.
I love the diversity and the illustrations are beautiful!
So going to follow JT's adventures!