- Book Style: Storybook for children
- Reading Level: 2 (Read with Help due to: some mid-level vocabulary)
- Reading Length: 5-7 minutes (FYI – we never account for toddler questions)
- Illustration: Simple, colorful
- Age Target: 2-9 Years of Age
The Year of the Rooster is a children’s storybook from A.J Fontaine and his illustrator Arsalan Razzaq. The book tells us about a rooster’s journey from house to house to (finally) his home. The rooster is just like every rooster (I’ve ever met) in that he spends a good deal of his time crowing. Obviously, some people like this and some people don’t. As such, the rooster is forced to leave his home and to find another. Once he finally finds a place to live, he ends up meeting the (hen) love of his life and they create a home together. In the end, the rooster goes from being homeless to declaring this year the “Year of the Rooster”!
First off, I like the simplicity of this book. This isn’t a hard story to read and I think it’s one of the first books that I’ve reviewed that I felt like my little guy could take a crack at reading on his own. The author hasn’t tried to fill the book with words just for the sake of filling it up. He has told his story without forcing all of us parents to read for an hour.
What follows along with the simplicity of this story are the illustrations. Arsalan, the illustrator, has used simple backgrounds, drawings, and I think even a little clipart to allow the story to be told without so much distraction by the illustrations. I think this works with the book, as the rooster really becomes the focal point of every page’s illustration. There wasn’t a page that I didn’t immediately look at the rooster after reading the words, and I know that’s what my toddler looked at!
The illustrations also have what I would call a farm-like feel. They’re really consistent with the theme of the book; there weren’t many illustrations that didn’t have the colors and feel of a farm or rural setting (unless of course the setting wasn’t rural). It’s really clear to me that our illustrator thought about this before creating each illustration.
Now, my favorite part of this book isn’t just about the book. What I’ve found out as I’ve looked a little through this book and through the author’s website (http://kitty-witty.com/) is that the author is a true lover of animals. Every story he writes is one inspired by his own pets. He then takes those stories and tries to inspire children in their own lives. Having read this about A.J., and now having read this book, I clearly see how he was trying to accomplish this in The Year of the Rooster.
What’s a little terrifying to me is that this means the author likely has a rooster that at one point crowed all through the night. Yikes!
But seriously, the story in this book is really just one that is nice, happy, and sweet. Children are always excited by stories that bring hope to someone who is/was down on their luck. They always like to hear that happy ending and they really like it when they can relate said happy ending to their own life. What this story does so well is start off with a character down on their luck, and ends with what we would all call the white picket fence. Our rooster has a family of 2 chicks and a hen, he has a warm chicken coop to stay in every night, and he has an owner who loves them all.
Like I said, A.J. is a true animal lover who writes stories about his pets. He actually has 4 other stories about cats. Here are the links to those books:
- Kitty Witty’s Bedtime Story
- Kitty Witty’s Big Adventure
- Kitty Witty and the Secret Room
- A Kitty and his Dream
Now, back to our review. I’m going to wrap this one up simply by saying that this book is a good, simple storybook that’s fit for children anywhere in that 1-9 age range (the author has suggested 2-9 on Amazon). Depending on their reading level, you may be able to leave this one with them to read on their own too, which is a nice plus. The pricing for this book is extremely reasonable too, with the Kindle version being under $3 USD and the paperback version being under $10 USD. Use the link below to go ahead and purchase The Year of the Rooster off of Amazon.com!
Until next time…smash, crash, and learn!