Every child deals with their emotions in different ways. Channing O’Banning, star of a new series of chapter books aimed at 5-10 year olds, draws in her sketchbook. Whether she’s frustrated or happy, Channing puts her feelings on the page, and in the pages of her first adventure, The Rainforest Rescue, she’s colouring up a storm!
An artistic fourth grader who always has a pencil crayon stuck in her pony tail, Channing O’Banning is the creation of educator and author Angela Spady. Like your typical 10 year-old, she’s got major drama to deal with: a new boy at school named Marco is stealing her BFF Maddy, and Channing is very upset about it. But that’s only the beginning of the story.
By the time the 110 page adventure wraps up, there’s friendship drama, a family trip through the jungles of Costa Rica, a strong environmental message, a pet pig, and plenty of drawing. That might almost be too many plot points in one relatively short book, and for grown ups it might feel like the story leaps from one to the next, but it’s all tied up neatly in the end, with Channing, her younger sister Katie, her parents, her friends, and her super-supportive Grandmother setting up more stories and illustrations to come.
The Rainforest Rescue is told by Channing O’Banning from a first-person perspective, which should make it very easy for young readers to empathize with her highs and lows. Readers as young as 7 or 8 should have little problem with this book, but if parents are reading the story, you could even introduce 5- or 6-year-olds to Channing’s world. Especially if they are artistically inclined, and can relate to Channing and her love of drawing and pencil crayons.
Reading through the story with my own daughter, I can see a lot of Channing in her: the adventurous spirit, the artistic nature, and the strong emotions that are often in need of a positive way to be expressed. So for me, the book really struck home, and it’s definitely going to be a story and a character that we’ll keep re-reading.
With its themes of friendship and “going green”, there are also plenty of opportunities for parents to start a discussion outside of the story, whether it’s about troubles with friends, family vacations, or taking care of the environment. The book’s website also has teaching resources to help parents out, and art activities that allow kids to share in Channing O’Banning’s adventure.
The GamerPops Recommendation
Channing O’Banning and The Rainforest Rescue mixes a fun adventure with likable characters and a plenty of teachable moments for parents. It’s also an accessible read for children on their own, or reading along with parents.
As the first book in a new series, The Rainforest Rescue, it shows a great deal of promise, and definitely deserves to a place on your family’s bookshelf, especially if you have artistic young children in the house.
A review copy was provided to GamerPops.
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