How to Keep Your Helicopter
Written and Illustrated by Ben Greene
Altanimus, LLC May 15, 2015
40 pages Ages 4—8
“Benjamin is tired of sharing. His little sister Sandy is ALWAYS asking to play with his favorite toys. But when Sandy wants to p lay with Benjamin’s absolute favorite toy of all time, his beautiful blue helicopter, Benjamin reaches his breaking point. Will he figure out a way to get out of sharing? Or be doomed to a life of helicopter sharing forever? ” [back cover]
How to Keep You Helicopter is about a younger sibling emulating an older sibling. Sandy follows Benjamin around, wanting to play with his toys. Benjamin does not want to share his helicopter. When Sandy asks for a turn, he says no. Mom overhears. She tells Benjamin to pick another toy and pretend to have fun with it. She says Sandy will want that toy, leaving his helicopter alone.
Benjamin decides to play with a broom (something he would never actually want to play with). He makes it a horse, a peg leg, a sword, and a microphone. It works; Sandy wants a turn with the broom. But there’s a twist: Benjamin enjoys playing with the broom. He is now back to square one. Enter mom once more. She solves the sharing problem by bringing out a mop. Now both kids are happily playing together.
I like Benjamin not finding success right away. Most stories have one or two attempts or conflicts to solve, not a quick fix. The story becomes more real with this added depth. The problem with How to Keep Your Helicopter is Mom. Benjamin never solves the sharing problem himself. Mom steps in each time, giving him the solution.
In children’s books, the main character–a child, not an adult–should solve the problem, learning along the way. Sure, Benjamin may remember mom’s solutions and use them again, but he lost an opportunity to think and problem solve. It is okay or mom to hint or guide, but when she gives the solution, in my mind, it defeats the importance of stories for children, especially young children. Children are the stars and children need to rise up and solve the conflicts.
The illustrations are realistic. The use of various patterns keeps the images fresh. Benjamin remembering he likes to make his sister happy is my favorite page. Benjamin imagines himself reading a bedtime story to Sandy. He is reading the perfect book for this situation: The Giving Tree. While How to Keep Your Helicopter needs work, it is a solid start.
How to Keep Your Helicopter is Ben Greene’s debut children’s book.
(NOTE: Please note, I will no longer review books without credit pages.)
HOW TO KEEP YOUR HELICOPTER. Text copyright © 2015 by Ben Greene. Illustrations copyright © 2015 by CC Pearce. Reproduced by permission of the author, Ben Greene.
Find How to Keep Your Helicopter on Goodreads HERE.
Ben Greene: http://www.benbgreene.com/
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HOW TO KEEP YOUR HELICOPTER. Illustrations © 2016 by Ben Greene. Used by permission.
Copyright © 2016 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved
Full Disclosure: How to Keep Your Helicopter by Ben Greene, and received from Ben Greene, is in exchange NOT for a positive review, but for an HONEST review. The opinions expressed are my own and no one else’s. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”