Veggie Tales have not always been a hit at our house. Our girls were intimidated by many of the 'bad/scary' characters of Samson, Nebby, and even Larry boy! Over the years it has gotten better. I find that Veggie Tales can be helpful in giving quick little life lessons that have base in scripture. I use them as a tool to help make a Bible story or verse come alive.
I was given the opportunity to review a 3 in 1 book new from ZonderKidz titled Pirates, Mess Detectives, and a Superhero. At a beginning reading level 1, it was easy enough for my 2nd grader to read aloud without help, however I would put it more in the level 2 category because of the character names, some silly phrasing, and language play.
Overall, our family enjoyed the three stories. Each had a verse in the title page that corresponded to the lesson that would be learned by the infamous veggies. The first was the value of hard work- and Junior Asparagus learned going to school was important because even the pirates who didn't do anything needed school instruction. The second story was about how the veggies were instigated in a mud slinging fight and the only way to get the mud off was to forgive each other. The third was about the importance of listening to become wise- both Larry and Junior learned this lesson. My oldest, age 7, liked the story about the mud because they all learned to be kind in the end. My four year old said she liked the books because they were kind of funny.
My favorite story was probably the Listen Up Larry. I loved the obvious, and funny, consequences Larry played out for not listening so that the child could immediately begin to predict what happens when someone chooses not to listen. Since it was written from Larry's perspective, it made it that much more fun and felt like you were truly reliving the night with him. I thought the illustration of the Apple in Larry Boy and the Mudslingers was unnecessarily scary and intense which turned me off to the story- I think just a great of lesson could have been shared without the backstory of the 'trap'. Oftentimes forgiveness needs to come when someone accidentally hurts you, with no evil behind the scenes trying to trick you.
All three stories are wonderful quick reads that implore a much greater lesson. One must remember that the reading level is not meant for adults and so pieces of the storyline will be mission and most kids do not care. The resolution to the stories is always fast and there is very little 'back' story. My curious 7 year old was concerned about where the pet badger came from, whether or not bad apple from Bumblyburg learned her lesson, and if Junior ever went back to being a pirate. I think from a reading level standpoint, this was right on for her, but she was maturity wise ready for something deeper. I would gear this towards a read aloud with 3-5 year olds, guided reading at k/1, and independent at 2nd grade on up. With a little extra direction, you can't go wrong with the colorful veggies!
*I received a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review