Book Review of “How Back-Back Got His Name”
By Sylvia Cochran – Parenting By the Book
Book Review of "How Back-Back Got His Name" by Thomas and Peter Weck
How Back-Back Got His Name
Thomas Weck, Peter Weck
Lima Bear Press
Published July 2011
Age Range: 4 to 8
How Back-Back Got His Name (Lima Bear Stories) is the second book in a series that introduces readers to the magical kingdom of Beandom. Inhabitants look like a mix of beans and teddy bears. Their goals are as simple and straight forward as the goals of their readers: live a happy life and play. In the last edition of this column, I had the opportunity to review "The Megasaurus," which I thoroughly enjoyed.
Is "How Back-Back Got His Name" a suitable follow-up?
I appreciated that the age range has been adjusted to primarily target the preschool to early elementary school year demographic. The book is well-written for this audience and is sure to appeal to the pint-sized audience. Once again, the authors excelled at providing suggestions for audience involvement at the end of the book. Parents, teachers or caregivers are given instant conversation starters to help facilitate a lively discussion on the book, the characters and the message.
This time around, however, I have a bone to pick with the purported message itself. In my opinion — and mind you, it and 50 cents won't buy you a cup of coffee! — "How Back-Back Got His Name" is a message in search of a plot. For example, the book features children who trap small animals for unknown reasons. It features a possum with a rather peculiar problem. Its friends attempt to help the possum — and then one another. The actual message is supposed to be that "the tolerance of differences in others yields benefits."
Perhaps I am nitpicky, but there was no question of tolerance in the story. It was more a question of one character having an appearance-related dilemma that his friends were eager to help him overcome. In so doing, his apparent dilemma becomes their greatest asset when attempting to escape captivity. Even though the plot of "How Back-Back Got His Name" does not exactly match up with the stated take-away, it is a great read on a number of different levels.
I would suggest that a parent not aim for the stated message when discussing the book with the child; instead, highlight the aspects of teamwork, loyalty and courage, which the plot exemplifies.
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