cover image The Big Buck Adventure

The Big Buck Adventure

Shelley Gill. Charlesbridge Publishing, $16.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-88106-294-6

""Saturday morning, I sure am in luck!/ A raise in allowance--I get a buck!"" Yes, one dollar is the buck featured in this feeble tale. When her father drops her at a store offering wares ranging from stuffed animals to beef jerky, the young narrator explores her purchasing options, with the aid of clerks whose last names (Cash, Silver, Buck, Penny) are as trite as the book's rhyming verses. Lin's (The Ugly Vegetables) artwork often further complicates some already elaborate scenarios: even though the text, ""Four quarters times three equals/ twelve gummy bear treats,/ a much better deal/ than ten at ten cents each,"" makes no mention of other candies, the illustration introduces candy sticks and gumballs into the mix. All the options throw the would-be consumer into such a tizzy that she, predictably, decides to bank her buck. Without a clear depiction of the addition at work here (and some unrealistic prices to boot) and featuring photos of a dollar bill and coins superimposed on bland, stylized pictures, this thin story offers little adventure. Ages 5-9. (Feb.)