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The Best Way to Play

by Bill Cosby

School Library Journal K-Gr 3?Cosby turns his hand to writing, telling stories about situations that children often face. In The Best Way to Play, Little Bill, the narrator, and his friends get caught up in the excitement and marketing of their favorite TV cartoon, Space Explorers, and desperately want their parents to buy them the expensive video game. They become bored with it quickly, however, and realize that it's more fun to play Space Explorers outside. In The Meanest Thing to Say, Little Bill comes face to face with a bully. The Treasure Hunt takes him on a voyage of self-exploration. It seems to him that everyone in his family has a special quality. After a full day of searching, he discovers that his is "telling stories and making people laugh." These titles feature short chapters, making them appropriate for beginning readers?but they're also short enough to be read aloud. Honeywood's illustrations are bright and eye-catching, and show Little Bill and his friends and family as having distinctive personalities and characteristics. Each book comes with a letter to parents from a child psychiatrist about the subject matter in that book. While the writing is nothing extraordinary, Cosby has a good grasp of the issues and how the world looks through children's eyes. The primarily African-American characters also make these books welcome additions to easy-reader collections.?Dina Sherman, Brooklyn Children's Museum, NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Horn Book Fiction: Y Horn Rating: Marginal, seriously flawed, but with some redeeming quality. Reviewed by: jch (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Book list Gr. 2^-4, younger for reading aloud. As Oprah fans will already know, Winfrey has chosen these titles as recent book club selections. With all the great children's writers out there, it's too bad that Bill Cosby is her author of choice, but these beginning chapter books are serviceable, if on the didactic side. In Play, Little Bill wants a $50 video game but finds that he can have more fun making up a game with his friends. Meanest Thing, the best book of the trio, shows how to handle kids who call names (keep saying, "So?"). Hunt is about Little Bill's finding out what he likes to do best. The collage-style artwork is particularly nice here. Vibrant colors and interesting shapes combine in some wonderfully eye-catching spreads. Normally, these wouldn't be a first choice for purchase, but never underestimate the power of Oprah. Even six-year-olds may be coming in to request these. --Ilene Cooper

From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission.