I’m blessed as a parent that both of my young children are already avid readers. Fights in my house frequently break out over PBS’s the Cat in The Hat educational books, Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site, Corduroy, and My Little Pony. Having become a connoisseur of children’s books, I can confidently state that crafting a good children’s book is a surprisingly difficult task. The art, story, and overall concept have to perfectly mesh to create a truly memorable book. Fwendly Fruit doesn’t rise to the level of Corduroy (Dad’s favorite book), I mean very little does (, but there is definitely potential here.
Fwendly Fruit follows the adventures of Bwana (Banana) and Stawberry (Strawberry) Pip Squeak, and Kuppy on Wunder Day (Christmas). Kuppy has lost his friend Bowley playing hide and seek and asks the Fwendly Fruits for their help to locate his lost friend. Their adventure includes a trip to another planet via the Space Melon Wagon and a narrow escape from some hungry villains. The unnamed villains state that they are effectively responsible for devouring all the life on this planet, which is pretty dark for an kids book.
Fwendly Fruit Winter Wonders, which is described as an all ages children’s book, upon reading is better described as a children’s comic book. There is genuine difference between the two, since the purpose of a children’s book is to entertain and assist young readers in developing reading and reading comprehension skills while a comic’s job is just to entertain. Fwendly Fruit as a children’s comic book is very successful at providing age appropriate fun, but is less successful as a children’s book because of the intentional misspelling of several names (like “banana”), and general use of improper English. This is entirely done for comedic effect and an older reader is much more likely to be able to pick up on that. For a developing reader, this is more of an area of concern since they are still in the process of acquiring their basic reading skills. While I would be hesitant to get this book for my youngest reader (2yrs-4yrs), who is still developing his reading skills, the book is perfect for my older reader (5yrs-8yrs).
This is why I wouldn’t consider Fwendly Fruit a traditional children’s book. Ultimately I think Fwendly Fruit is better suited for a more developed reader, but it’s definitely worth bringing along for a short or long car ride.
Three out of Five Bananas