Parents' Guide to

Agapanthus Hum and the Eyeglasses

By Mary LeCompte, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 4+

Engaging book makes kids want to read more.

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AGAPANTHUS HUM AND THE EYEGLASSES is the kind of first chapter book that will make early readers want to read more. It's got it all -- a fun-loving kid as the main character, a gentle story line, interesting and musical phrasing, and irresistibly cute illustrations. From an adult's point of view, the story line is benign -- maybe too much so. It's unsuspenseful, has a loose plot, and seems a bit, well, uninspired. And Agapanthus's parents -- "good little mommy" and "good little daddy" -- are sweet and forgiving beyond reason. But try to tell that to the 4- to 7-year-olds who sat raptly for a reading of this book. Their reaction: The story was "great!" and "fun!" The younger ones had trouble deciding which were their favorite illustrations (they liked them all), and the older ones couldn't wait to get their hands on it to read it on their own.

Why the appeal? Definitely Jennifer Plecas's artwork; her depiction of Agapanthus is charming (and even the dog has personality!). But it's also Cowley's talent for word choices -- not so simple that they're plain and not too complicated that kids won't be able to pronounce or understand them. Cowley's words flow gracefully; they are, at times, even poetic: "Clean glasses made the garden look as sharp as a tune played on a fiddle. Agapanthus twirled, but only a little. She did a butterfly hum on the face of a pink rose."

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