The Crew Goes Coconuts certainly presents us with a child’s view of a serious topic. Although the situation presented in the book isn’t, in my opinion, an extreme example of bullying, it does take a group of animals and a child-like perspective on an adventure to face an important topic – accepting differences in others and understanding how teasing can be hurtful.
The story is about a group of friends, and in the style of many children’s books, uses animals as characters in the story, who find themselves on different sides of whether to like Matie, the goat. The animals are on a boat adventure and realize that they are without enough drinks for the whole crew. Part of the crew believe the problem is Matie drank a double portion. As a result, they start to list things they do not like about Matie and make fun of her. As in real life, some on the crew do their best to make Matie feel better while others don’t know what to do and don’t want to take sides.
Captain No Beard is challenged with trying to figure out why there is trouble on his ship. He can’t figure out why everyone can’t just get along. He decides to ask each of the crew members to recite one thing they like about themselves and one thing they don’t like about themselves. At first, each crew member reluctantly participates and does as the Captain says. Quickly, the moral is revealed. Each person is different and unique and there are things that we like about each other and things we don’t like about each other. “No one is perfect” and the crew apologizes to Matie for being mean to her. In the end, Matie discovers a way to provide drinks for the crew by finding coconuts on shore. Yes, the moral of the story is that it isn’t right to tease others and we should accept others for who they are (the synopsis on the back of the book takes it one step further and indicates this book addresses bullying).
This story, although predictable, was relatively easy to read. There were quite a few characters to keep track of for such a short story. Although, the clever ending – the realization that this was an imaginary story in Alexander’s room (along with cousin Hallie) and the crew were stuffed animals – did add an element of surprise. The illustrations were quite detailed and fun as well.
The story and illustrations appealed to both boys and girls easily, especially with the main characters being Hallie and Alexander and the stuffed animals representing both genders. However, as I read this story to my 7-year-old son, he quickly figured out the plot way before the end and was quick to let me know this moral shows up in many other books. Although he was not completely engaged in the book, it still did bring up an important topic in a child’s life and provided an excellent practical solution on how to handle it (and without him knowing it provided for a good discussion with my son about a serious topic).
Although, I would not purchase this book for my family, I would purchase it as a gift for a family with a younger child or recommend it for someone who was struggling with this topic.
The Crew Goes Coconuts
By Carole P. Roman
Published by CreateSpace
|Kept my Child(ren’s) Interest
|Appealed to Both Boys and Girls
|I Would Purchase for My Child||No
|I Would Purchase as a Gift||Yes
All ratings on a scale of 1 (low) to 5 (high).
Meet the Reviewer!
Christine Rowe is seriously addicted to children’s books. Her family may actually accuse her of having a problem as they find them in the strangest places (yes, recently her 1-year-old son decided it would be great to put one in the dishwasher). Christine has lived in the Northern Virginia area for over eight years, is married, and has two sons (ages 7 and 1), a dog, a cat, a snake, several fish and a job as a director of Human Resources for a local training company.