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.
Amazon—Book Depository—Indie Books—Apple Books
Find How to Keep Your Helicopter on Goodreads HERE.
Ben Greene: http://www.benbgreene.com/
Follow on Twitter @benjamingreene
Follow on Twitter
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.”
Kids do need to solve their own problems, and sharing is a big one. It’s not easy but they have to work it out among themselves; I call that kid street justice. I agree the book falls flat with mom intervening. What’s interesting is the back cover asks “Will he figure out a way to get out of sharing?”, but he doesn’t…mom does.
Nice catch on the back cover. I like the term “kid street justice” though it does sound a little gangish. I certainly remember working out sharing with my brothers and fighting was definitely involved. None really happened in this book.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Yes I had a lot to work out with my 5 brothers and 1 sister, lots of fighting and lots of my mom saying “figure it out”. Maybe the helicopter is symbolic for the helicopter mom (now I’m really reading into this story) I’ll stop there.
Aren’t rules meant to be broken? How else will kid lit history be made? Haha! I do marvel at how some authors are stretching the rules and thinking outside the box. Constructive review, Sue.
Okay, Lobo, back into the woods you go! 😉 I don’t mind rule-bending, even traditional publishers do it, but I still think kids need some autonomy in there own books. Now wolves, they can do as they please. I have no desire to butt heads with any of them. Too many teeth. 🙂
A character should solve his/her own problem. A big rule in kid lit. The only exception that I can think of is the story where a kid insists on doing everything all by herself and finally comes to realize that maybe it’s ok to get help from a friend once in a while.
Robin, that is a very good point. I had not thought of that. I may need to rely on my readers for the review writing. 🙂
LikeLiked by 1 person
You nailed it, Sue. Kids solving their own problems is Rule #1 in children’s literature.
Thanks. Cupcake, what is the number one rule in dog care? I just got a chihuahua and Jonathan can be hell on wheels.
Chihuahua!! Awesome! Congratulations and good luck! When Mom trained me at Obedience School, the number one rule was to keep me on my leash a LOT – till I learned that Mom was in charge. In my opinion, the number one rule is give Jonathan lots of treats and let him snuggle on your lap whenever he wants to.
Love and licks,
So far it looks like I’m doing it right. Jonathan does get lots of treats and he is almost like Velcro the way he sticks to me. (I think my cats are jealous.) Johnathan is a rescue dog and experienced a lot of hitting and kicking. I don’t understand how someone could be so mean, but that makes him a little grumpy and quick to bite. He’s learning how to play. Can you imagine needing to learn how to play. But he is a good boy. I just bought him a seat so he can see out the car window. Oh, I could go on and on, but probably shouldn’t. Thanks for the advice, Cupcake.
Jonathan sounds like a lucky little guy. Mean people make me grumpy, too. Hang in there, little buddy. Your mean-people-days are over. xoxo
Love and licks,