Kip and Kamuela’s Adventures in Rome by Jonah Christian Hall. Book Review.

Since there is only one name on this book, I assume the illustrations and text are both written by Jonah Christian Hall. The illustrations in this book are lively, professional, and comprehensive. I think they are ink and watercolor. Hall is a talented and amusing artist. He uses point of view and placement to create varied and interesting illustrations. His pictures are often highly dynamic.

The main characters are a brother and sister with naturally blue hair. . The color blue appears in other places, building the reader’s curiosity. Several reasons for this anomaly are proposed but we are never told the actual reason.

The Kingsley family is rich and famous, both parents being actors in demand.

We follow the children, who are being supervised by their grandmother, as they follow their parents being filmed on location in Italy. Step-by-step, we learn about the strategies needed to avoid fans, how to set up and film a movie, and the perks of visiting Rome. The story becomes a discovery of the delights of Italy. The illustrations of this great city are phenomenal.

On page 18 of 25, the story picks up when the children try to rescue a cat and cause a calamity in the market. It culminates in a spectacular crash on the film set. The gelato man, whose business they have disrupted, is given the role of Julius Caesar. At the end the children sit and watch the film while they eat ice cream.

One technical problem is that after a few pages, the verb tense changes from present to pass. It jumps back and forth throughout the book, sometimes switching in the same paragraph.

It is important to set up the main theme, plot and characters on the first page of the picture book. I thought this was going to be a book about why the children had blue hair. The blue hair had nothing to do with the story of exploring Rome and causing a disruption. I waited to see what role the hair color would play in their adventure but we did not return to the subject.

If you are planning on visiting Rome with your children this is a great book to read before you go.

Click on the cover to buy the book.

I was given an ebook copy in exchange for an honest review.



Bonnie Ferrante: Books For All Ages


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