Ebeneezer's Cousin
Grades 1-2
Friday, December 30, 2011
by: Dr. Jamie Campbell Naidoo

Section: Children's Book Reviews

Fall/Winter 2011

Reviewed by Dr. Jamie Campbell Naidoo. Assistant & Foster-EBSCO Endowed Professor School of Library & Information Studies University of Alabama. He received his Ph.D. in Communication and Information Studies from the University of Alabama and holds a Masters of Library and Information Studies from the University of Alabama.

Seven-year-old Maria loves her dad and her stuffed monkey Ebeneezer and often brings pictures to show-and-tell that depict the duo in places across the globe that Maria’s dad visits as part of his military service. One day, Maria’s father is wounded, losing his ability to walk and use his hands. Maria and her mother get a service monkey to help her father regain his confidence and physical strength. While the premise of the story is to provide an opportunity for children in military families to understand the trauma faced by their veteran parents, Zajac’s overly didactic narrative is not developmentally appropriate or engaging for the intended audience, and Houdeshell’s uneven illustrations depict children that are much younger than the supposed seven-year-olds in the story. Also, inconsistencies in the illustrations, such as the father’s name and the fact that he uses his hands to hold the monkey although he can’t type, further mar the book.  Not Recommended.

Ebeneezer's Cousin by Kristen K. Zajac. Illustrated by Jennifer Houdeshell. 20 pages,Publisher: Guardian Angel Publishing, Inc. 2010 Language: English ISBN 978-1616330453

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