I was given an advanced copy of the children's book Gertrude and Toby's Friday Adventure in exchange for an honest review.
As far as the story is concerned, I found this book to be mediocre. Since this is the first in a series, I was surprised that more time wasn’t spent introducing us to the farm and to the main characters of the series, Gertrude (a goat) and Toby (a tortoise) who love going on adventures. It would have been fun to learn about some of their past adventures and their farm life in this first book. Learning more about their friendship would have been interesting as well. How does a goat and a tortoise come to be friends anyway? ;-) Suddenly, one fairy tale character after another is thrown into the mix and it’s just too much. Each mini-story arc feels sloppy and unfinished. I suppose the author may be setting up plot lines for future stories in the series. But, I would have rather learned more about the main characters in the first series than be introduced to fairy tale characters and told half stories I am familiar with already. I also noticed a few errors in editing and punctuation but nothing major.
I also feel strongly that books we read early in our lives can teach us lessons and this one has some ones that are concerning. It’s not ok to sneak around. It’s not ok to kidnap others or hold them against their will. It’s not ok to steal from a candy store. It’s not ok to accidentally poison someone and not try to help. It’s not ok to kiss an unconscious person who cannot give consent. WTF?
Toby is funny with a couple of his replies to Gertrude when she asks “are you thinking what I’m thinking?”. I like that Gertrude bleats when she talks.
The illustrations in this book are lovely and whimsical. The colors were bright and inviting. I would have prefered to see some diversity in the skin color of human characters. However, I would say that the illustrations were my favorite part of the book.