Sword & Spoon Group (2018)
Reviewed by Eliana (8) Serenity (6) and Noelle (big sister) for Reader Views Kids (11/18)
In “Animal Mash-Up” by Jean Kingston, all kinds of animals come to live together in the town of Farmville. For each animal, there is a special school dedicated just for them. There’s a dog school for the dogs, there’s a goat school for the goats, and there’s an alpaca school for alpacas. Each animal loves having a school solely for themselves but lately, they’ve been running into some problems. Some schools are way too overcrowded while others are way too empty! The town leaders of Farmville must come together to find a solution for this dilemma. It is then that they decided that the perfect solution to their problem would be to make one school for all the animals! The adults love this idea, but the students are not too excited about it. How can they all share a school together when they’re all so different? Surely it is impossible, right?
“Animal Mash-Up” is a story about accepting everyone’s differences and learning that together we are better than divided. These lessons are especially important; even more so for children. Too often people try to use the differences of others to discriminate against them when really, they should realize that these differences are what make us so special. In the story the author simplifies this lesson and puts it in a way kids could easily understand. They use all the animals’ schools merging together as a way of showing that though being with others just like us can be fun, being with others who are different can be even more fun!
I thought this was an extremely important lesson for kids, especially when they are at the age where they go to school and are surrounded by a wide variety of students from all kinds of backgrounds. Eliana and Serenity loved the nice teacher Mr. Hoof and the colorful art but didn’t understand why the animal children didn’t want to share a school together, surely more kids to play with would be better, but once I explained how they sometimes themselves acted this way when it came to boys playing with boys and girls playing with girls, they became quiet. They agreed that it’s better to play with others who are the same gender because they share more things in common but ultimately decided that playing with kids of all genders is way more fun.
We highly recommend “Animal Mash-Up by Jean Kingston!