The Worldly Adventures of
By Betty Davis
ISBN # - 1463646992
ISBN # 13 – 9781463646998
With the advent of the internet and print-on-demand, more and more creative souls are starting to publish their own works. One such lady is Betty Davis whose biography on the back of this slim childrens’ book says she loves teaching children ages 4 to 12. In the course of her career she developed a program that would ensure young readers would have fun while learning to read; a truly wonderful and noble endeavor. The world certainly needs more souls like Mrs. Davis.
That being said lets review her first self-published effort, “The Worldly Adventures of NICHOLAAS.” The story is simple and direct. Ten year old Nicholaas and his parents are moving from their home in Minnesota and traveling Leiden, Holland where his father has accepted a new job. Moving from one’s home, neighborhood and familiar friends is always an arduous ordeal for any child. Where Nicholaas is different is that his parents have instilled him a truly positive attitude towards life and a philosophy of seeing each new change as an adventure to be relished.
Thus, though somewhat sad, Nicholaas is much more excited about the journey they are about to undertake; first by plane to Tampa, Florida and then by cruse ship to Holland with several stops along the way. Davis does a marvelous job of using each new layover as another imaginative adventure for the lad and the people he encounters along the way. She is a devoted grandmother and her style of writing is evocative of a loving adult reading aloud to an attentive child. That is the feeling that permeated the entire story.
Nicholaas experiences snorkeling in the Caribbean and seeing the wreck of a pirate ship anchored on the see floor; nearly being lost in a violent storm while riding in a hot air balloon and exploring a deserted castle on the island of Madeira that appears to be haunted. Each of these scenes is effectively narrated and the excitement the boy feels throughout will be easily transmitted to any young reader lucky enough to get a copy of this book.
That I liked this book is evident by my including both ISBN numbers to help you find it. This is a book any parent would have a great deal of fun sharing with their child. Having said that, my next comments are directed to Mrs. Davis and intended as suggestions to improve any future projects she may undertake. The use of story to help teach math and geography skills is laudable but at the same time does not excuse ignoring good English in the process. Throughout the book the narrative shifts many times between past and present tense, a grammatical sin which proved to be jarring to this reviewer and we can only imagine would bother a young reader dealing with the book without an adult’s supervision. Teaching good grammar is as important as any other social science, perhaps even more so?
And finally, the book’s over all design, though adequate, demonstrates a lack of effort. Photos used to illustrate the text are poorly chosen ala the picture of the sunken skiff/lobster boat that is suppose to represent the wreck of a 16th century pirate galleon. I would suggest to Mrs. Davis that there are hundreds of retired art teachers on the internet today, many of which might have been easily persuaded to join this project and provided her with some truly gorgeous artwork representative of her imaginative story. She need only go net surfing to find them. Things to keep in mind when planning the next Nicholaas adventure.