August Book Review: And the Winnner Is… By LL Cool J

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This book is first in a 3-part series titled HipKidHop. The series features different Rappers and poets with different titles. The series must’ve never caught on because it ended after only three books. Another book features Doug E. Fresh while the final book in the series features Jevi, who I assume is a poet. The book is a tiny hardcover print with vibrant colors for your young reader! Published in 2002 this book is fit for readers ages four to eight depending upon your reader’s reading level although I wouldn’t recommend this book to any young person over the age of eight since the book reads as if it’s for a first or second grader. I don’t have any children I read the book myself as I do for all the book reviews and this book took me back to my Dr. Seuss days when I was learning how to read. This book is great for first time readers. With LL Cool J at the pen on this one the words flow and rhyme appropriately. The words are those three and four letter “sight words” that they are learning in the classroom.

Overall this book focuses on good sportsmanship and humility. Society has told our young males that they can only become successful as athletes so if you’re subjecting your young male reader to that ideal than at least develop their character along the way with this book. The book is a quick read to adults but probably isn’t for young readers. There are only a few words that may be above their grade level but that should not hinder a person from reading. The illustrations were bright, exciting, and active! LL is the main character in the book but they did not simply draw him or have him narrate the book through the script. His face seems to have been stuck onto the body of the main character almost like stop motion animation but in a book. The illustrator had LL take various pictures depicting the various facial expressions that the character exhibited throughout the story. The illustrator then cut out the various faces and put them on the body of the character that he actually illustrated.

The book comes with a compact disc where LL Cool J raps the book with children chanting “I never give up” in the background. Your young reader can rap along with the song while reading the book. This will improve the comprehension skills for any young reader. As always with any books that come with CDs it definitely enhances the reading experience. The instrumental is included on the disc with LL Cool J’s background vocals so that your young reader can rap the book solo or write their own rhyme of resilience and triumph. At first read I thought this book was not that great of a purchase but after hearing the CD it definitely increases the value of the book. If you have a young reader in your home this would be a great addition to their library. This allows the reader to also see the connection between writing and Rap music and having them understand that creating good Rap music is a process. They can read the book aloud to their siblings or in class or they can perform something positive that will surely make a difference in your life and theirs.

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