We hear all the time that today's youngsters are getting too much screen time; add up all the time spent watching tv, playing games on their devices, and searching the web, and it becomes hours daily. Just what the effect of all that electronic time has on their minds and bodies is not totally known, but I believe kids needs lots more physical activity and creative play. Now I sometimes appreciate that a tablet, smart phone, or a portable dvd player can be a life saver, especially when kids are on long car rides, at dr. appointments or other places where movement is restricted. My older granddaughters are quite crafty, but sometimes you just can't pack up all those artsy supplies and take them with you. When I was given an opportunity to review Rob Elliott's LAUGH OUT LOUD POCKET DOODLES FOR GIRLS and the male version LAUGH OUT LOUD POCKET DOODLES FOR BOYS, I was intrigued. How would the two books differ? And how do jokes and doodles go together. I had previously reviewed one of his joke books and then gifted it to my grandson, then 9. If you don't know, there is a short time period when jokes and riddles are really popular with boys that age. From the jokes, my grandson was telling us on Sunday, they have stayed popular with him. Our granddaughter, a year younger than this grandson, is really into drawing, so I figured the doodling part of these titles would appeal to her. So how did Rob Elliott and illustrator Jonny Hawkins do? I think both books are a success. Like the title says, the books are little -- just a little larger than a note card. On each page is a joke, a partial drawing which relates to the joke, and directions about what the child should draw to finish the doodle.
In the boy's book, for example, I like the joke,"What kind of bugs like to sneak up on you?" Answer: Spy-ders. On the page is a spider in dark glasses and the instructions tell the child to draw an object that the "spy-der" is hiding behind. A partially drawn oven with the door open accompanies this joke in the girl's book. "How do you know if there is a bear in your oven?" Answer:The oven door won't close. The child is instructed to finish the scene with the bear in the oven. I think that these books could creatively entertain kids from 7-12. Whether kids younger than 7 will get the riddles and jokes really depends on the kid. That the books are small has advantages and disadvantages. I could easily toss both of these in my purse, and so could moms. They would not take much room in backpacks or could be slipped into a cubby/pocket in the car or van. The main disadvantage is that the pages are small, so the drawings must be small. As I looked through both books, there is a definite difference in the jokes and drawing tasks-- ones that seems to be more "male" and ones that are more "female." While I am not in favor of always gender slotting toys and games, I've worked with enough grade school girls and boys when I was their librarian to know that the jokes they find funny and the things they just naturally doodle are different. I received both books from Revell Reads for my honest review.