Today I have a picture book/product combo to share with everyone, Storm Buddies by Melissa Pope and illustrated by Beth Zyglowicz. This book comes with a cloud pillow and three mini stuffed animals that fit inside it.
Tommy is nine years old and afraid of storms. He tries everything to make himself feel safe, but nothing works. During the next storm he finds a surprise on his bed, a pillow shaped like a cloud that contains three little animals that have come to life: a kitten, a puppy and a horse. They are his new storm buddies and they promise to stay with him and help him not be afraid.
Okay, I'm a little divided on this one. I feel like it is a great idea, but was not fully realized. My 7 year old son grabbed it as soon as we got it. He LOVED the pillow with the little animals and started playing with them right away. Then, he was excited to read a book about them. He sat himself down and read the whole book! Score. However, he then told me that the storm buddies only came in at the end of the book and it didn't say much about them.
So, now it was my turn to look everything over. My first thought was that this should be a hard cover. The animals are so cute and a lot of work went into them, but then the book just looks flimsy. Next, I looked at the story, It is a simple story, very easy to follow and uses words my 7 year old could decode. The pictures are bright and colorful, though the main character (Tommy) appears to have no pupils. The part that really brought me up short was exactly what my son pointed out. We have a book about storm buddies that only show up in the last pages. It seems like this should be where the story starts. We should be reading about the storm buddies and their special powers way before the end. We should see them helping Tommy out and having individual characteristics. We never see them actually take his fear away.
Thus, my split reaction to this product. Kids will love the pillow and storm buddies, but I'm not so sure that the book will fulfill their expectations about those same toys. I'm going to have to stay this one scraped by and gets 3 stars.