The Crew Goes Coconuts By: Carole P. Roman
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 on 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 animal friends who find themselves on different sides of whether to like Matie, the goat. The animals are on a boat adventure and realize they are without enough drinks for the whole crew. Part of the crew believes the problem is that Matie drank a double portion. As a result, they start to list things they don’t like about Matie and make fun of her. As in real life, others on the crew are loyal to Matie and do their best to make her feel better, while another group doesn’t know what to do and doesn’t want to take sides.
Captain No Beard is challenged with figuring out why there is trouble on his ship. 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. They realize that 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. 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. However, 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 also 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.
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. My overall rating for this book is a 4 out of 5.
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.