Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Children's Review: The Day the Mustache Took Over

{on Goodreads}

When I first saw the cover and premise for this book, I was so excited. Finally! A book for boys that's goofy, funny, and full of mischief. If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I've been seeking suggestions for "boy" books to add to my classroom library collection, and I thought that this was going to be a winner for sure. However, after struggling to get through this book (honestly, I had to talk myself into finishing it!), I can say that it is full of mischief, but I didn't find it the least bit funny. I normally don't like to publish negative reviews on here (after all, it seems silly to tell you all about a book and advise you not to buy it) but I decided to share it for a few reasons: first, I want to be fully transparent, because I don't actually love every single book that I read (although I have to say I do love the majority), and second because if I were in a bookstore, I would definitely be motivated to buy this book for a young reader.

I connected with the premise because I've worked so many years as a nanny, and I find that caring for children is way more fun and easy when I can put on my silliest of hats (figuratively speaking) and let fun guide our way. In The Day the Mustache Took Over, which makes its debut on September 1st, twin boys Nathan and David are faced with yet another new nanny to take care of them. The boys are so terribly behaved that they've left a trail of nannies in their wake and their parents are out of options. That is, until Martin Healey Discount shows up at the door. Martin becomes the boys' new "manny," and though he puts on a stern face for their parents' sake, it turns out that Martin is more trouble than even the boys. In the end, he tricks the boys into doing their chores by pretending that they're defying their parents.

While the premise was of interest to me, the biggest problem for me in reading this book was the writing style. I could not follow anything that was going on, and I felt like the dialogue was so fast and disconnected that nothing made sense. It almost felt like I was hyped up on sugar while reading it (if that makes sense) because everything was disjointed and the whole premise turned from funny to outrageous in the space of the first chapter. Though I understood why the parents played minor roles, I also felt like their lack of discipline and boundaries for the boys was completely unrealistic, and I felt unsure about how the message in this book would translate to young readers. Would they find it funny? Would they try to follow the footsteps of Nathan, David, and their crazy manny? The latter possibility had me flinching from the trouble that could ensue in real life. From a teacher perspective, at times the language that was employed by the manny character could also have been out of reach for some young readers-- the character used unusual vocabulary in order to convey silliness, but I could see some of the language being inaccessible for some audiences. Though I certainly wouldn't stop a young reader from picking up this book of their own volition (after all, what they're reading is less important than the fact that they are reading), I won't be buying this for my classroom library and I don't see myself recommending it to parents.

Bottom-Line Rating: 1/5

Title: The Day the Mustache Took Over
Author: Alan Katz
Illustrator: Kris Easler
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children's
Expected Publication Date: September 1, 2015
Price: $13.99
ISBN: 1619635585
Format: E-book
Source: Advanced Reader Copy provided by Net Galley

Note: Top Shelf Text was provided with a copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own!

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