Monday, March 14, 2011

The Adventures of Johnny Saturday

by W.F. Lovelady

From the book:
Eleven-year-old Johnny Saturday enjoys his weekends. For Johnny, the weekends mean endless imaginary adventures with his collection of action figures and occasional breaks to sketch some of the figures at his bedroom drawing table. Johnny also enjoys the outdoors, spending most of his afternoons playing flag football with neighborhood friends. One particular weekend, Johnny's evening writing adventures and endless imagination would soon change his world.

While searching in his attic, young Saturday comes across a mysterious black journal. This journal - bound with a black leather cover - was left with the inside pages unusually blank. Although the journal seemed ordinary at first, it would soon take Johnny on an adventure of his lifetime. Follow Johnny as he learns the abilities of his magic journal and as he explores mysterious characters and foreign lands. Johnny's magic journal will open new doorways and ultimately prove useful when he must save the day!
-Taken from the book

From me: The idea behind Johnny Saturday, I like. It reminded me of The Indian in the Cupboard and Ink Heart. The writing is very simple and lends itself well to young readers who are just taking off on their own reading adventures. However, I did have several things that bugged me about this book.

  • The book was extremely lacking in details. In fact, the back of the book (which you can read above) told me more about Johnny and his life than the entire story did.
  • People just show up in this book with very little explanation as to why. Or who they are to Johnny or their long history together.
  • I would love to see some reasoning behind why Johnny thinks certain things. For example: In the first chapter, Johnny's teacher introduces the class to a new tutor, Mr. Peters. When Johnny's friend asks him if he would tutor with Mr. Peters, Johnny says "No way, Lola! I don't need Mr. Peters! And besides, there is something about him that just seems untrustworthy!" Why does Johnny need a tutor? I didn't even know Mr. Peters was in the classroom when the teacher talked about him! And why would he seem untrustworthy? There was no description of his appearance or the way he was acting while being introduced to the class. This example is just one of many moments in the book where descriptions are sadly lacking.
  • There are no good descriptions of people and oftentimes the happenings in this book are missing important details that would make this story come alive in a child's imagination.
I think this would be a fantastic book if the author took the time to make it more than the forty-two sparsely worded pages it is now. I mean, who doesn't love a journal that can take you on adventures to other lands?

Thanks to BolsenPR for offering me a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review!


Kristie said...

It's too bad that this book isn't as descriptive as it could sounds like it would be a great book for boys otherwise with the adventures (and girls too-we like a good adventure too!) :-)

Anonymous said...

Hey MR:

I appreciate the comments. Although the book is a planned series, the characters are planned to evolve as the series progresses.
I will take your comments to heart in future releases.

thank you...

WF Lovelady said...

Hey MR:

Thought I would let you know it's me.

thank you for the feedback....

Alexia said...

Hello Mr. Lovelady! I'm so glad to hear that the characters will be developing more, I love the idea of the story and my boys do too, so I'm sure we'll keep checking in with the series!