Friday, May 01, 2015

A Fun Chidren's Book

Tillie & Clementine - Noises in the Night
Dan Killeen

I don't usually review children's books, but since I've been reading stories over Skype to my grandchildren (ages 2 and 1), I thought I'd try this one out on them. The oldest, Sophie, is having some issues with scary things, so I was a little concerned about how this story would work for her.

The artwork in this book is adorable! It is easy to see that these girls love to play and have fun. When I read the story I make it sound silly instead of scary (which would also be a good alternative if kids like that). Sophie asks for this book first every time we skype!

There are a couple of things I change when I read it. In the story the father is portrayed as a bit incompetent. I tend to shy away from books that place either parent in a role like that, so I change the story a bit to make him more typical. When I mentioned this to the publicist, I learned that the father is based on the actual brother of the author. Killeen said he tells kids when he does readings that it's his brother complained about the way he drew him -- arms too hairy, stomach too big! Older kids may have fun with this, but at this point we're making Dad a pretty smart, competent dad.  

I also stop reading the story half way through -- at the end of the bedtime story Dad tells. That is about the right length for a Skype book, and it leaves out some of the scary/incompetent parts. But I imagine older children would have a lot of fun with the second half of the book!

I am looking forward to reading other Tillie & Clementine books. I like the concept of the stories, and I can't wait to see what adventures these girls get into! This book definitely has the stamp of approval of Sophie (and I'm sure Miles, who just turned one, loves it too. He just can't quite verbalize that yet)! I just learned that an third book in the series will be released this fall called Tillie & Clementine: Moonlight Sledding. He is also writing another book, not in this series, called Dillon and the Dinosaurs. Both sound like fun and I can't wait to check them out.

Dan Killeen has gone above and beyond by creating an amazing website with pictures from the book that kids can color! Check it out!  It also includes direct links for purchasing this book and others in the series.

Tillie and Clementine live with their parents in an old brick house down in Benton Park. One night, Mommy has to go to a neighborhood meeting, so it's up to Daddy to feed the girls and get them ready for bed.  But Tillie and Clementine are later awakened by strange noises coming from just outside their window!  What could it be, and what will they do?!

Dan Killeen is an author/illustrator living in beautiful and humid St. Louis.  He is the seventh of eight artistically inclined siblings.  Dan grew up reading old Peanuts books which his mom would pick up for him at garage sales along with his outfits.  While studying at Indiana University he contributed a strip featuring the beloved character Implosion Boy to the Daily Student newspaper.  More recently, Dan was awarded a fellowship honor from the Washington Post Writers Group for his comic strip entitled Steve.  He has worked in marketing, graphic design, and theatre production.

The Tillie & Clementine series is inspired by his brother’s two little girls and set in the historic Benton Park neighborhood of St. Louis.  All kids deserve to star in their own children’s book, so Uncle Dan is happy to re-create the adventures of his silly young nieces.

Thank you to Dan, Happy Fun Books, and  Joni Baker of Buoyancy Public Relations for providing a copy of the book for my honest review.

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