Friday, July 8, 2016

Review: BetterNot and the Tale of Brat Sports by Gene Del Vecchio

And the Tale of Brat Sports:
Teaching Morals and Manners in Sports
BetterNot Series, Book 2
by Gene Del Vecchio
Illustrated by Roderick Fong
36 pages
ages 3-8

This series is the story of BetterNot, a magical character who arrives in a flash to aid parents, coaches and teachers by helping children learn valuable lessons about fairness, honesty, kindness and good manners in ways that fits each child's poor behavior. 

The first book in the series is BetterNot! And the Tale of Bratsville. It’s about a town filled with very naughty children like Larry Liar, Rebecca Robber and Lilly Loudmouth. Their parents could not make them behave no matter what they tried until the magical creature named BetterNot rose from his magical, bubbling purple swamp to come to their aid. 

The second book in the series is BetterNot! And the Tale of Brat Sports. It's about a sports field where some children do not play fair or try their best and so they need lessons in sportsmanship. BetterNot arrives at the request of team coaches to teach the children about manners and morals in sports. 

The third book in the series will be BetterNot! And the Tale of Brat School. It's about a school where some of the children are disrupting other students and are not trying their very best. BetterNot arrives at the request of teachers to teach their students about morals and manners in school. 

Note from the Author. . .
Why I wrote this series: A study revealed that 70% of the public feels it is more difficult to be a mother today than it was 20 or 30 years prior. A key challenge cited was teaching morals and manners. Because of this, I created a picture book to help parents.


This is a colorful and clever picture book perfect for kids ages four and up, which takes a slightly comical glance at appropriate manners, behavior and attitudes kids should have when involved in sports.

The book starts off with a general introduction to the joys of being involved in sports. After a couple of pages, it switches gears to show how the not so well behaved kids of a town named Bratsville handle sports. Their refusal to listen to their coaches and ill-considered antics cause havoc. That's when a dark ghost/genie like figure sweeps in, BetterNot, and gives the kids a taste of their own medicine. Soon they learn their lessons in a slightly comical way.

The messages are clear and carry enough humor to make them easy and fun to read about. The illustrations are fun and fit very well to the type of story. I especially loved the variety of sports and types of 'problems' which were addressed. It wasn't only a help to 'mislead' children but also those who might need a bit of support in other ways. The entire thing is written in rhyme, which doesn't always flow as well as it could. But the story still comes across clear.

It's a cute book which teaches kids through a wonderful mixture of fun and humor, and is sure to make readers and listeners smirk and smile several times too.

All about Gene Del Vecchio . . .

Gene Del Vecchio's first young adult novel, the Pearl of Anton, was honored with a star review fromBooklist. The sequel, The Sword of Anton, made the Young Adults' Choices list from the International Reading Association. In his longtime role as a youth marketing consultant,  he has work for global entertainment companies and also presented at past ALA/PLA/ALSC conferences from 2003 to 2012. One topic of particular interest was a seminar titledMaking Libraries Cool for Kids. He has four business books to his credit and teaches at USC.

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