By: Miki Taylor
Illustrated by: Eunhye Shin
Publisher: Miriam Laundry Publishing
Publication Date: September 28, 2023
Reviewed by: Holly Connors
Review Date: August 29, 2023
A cute puppy named Bentley, his bestest human friend Betty, and their friend Mr. Bee set off on a wild adventure to complete a school assignment that becomes a whole lotta fun in author Miki Taylor’s new children's book, Bentley’s Fantabulous Idea.
There’s no doubt that Bentley is probably the cutest little puppy you will ever meet. Together with his “not-furry human friend” Betty and their bumble bee friend, Mr. Bee, the trio have lots of fun adventures. But today is different because Betty isn’t her usual happy, upbeat self. She seems distracted and Bentley notices the change right away. Bentley asks Bett Bett (his nickname for Betty) what’s wrong and she explains that she has a huge school project that is going to take up so much time...she simply doesn’t know what to do. Bentley reminds Bett Bett that together, the three of them can do anything. What can he and Mr. Bee do to help?
Just what does Betty have to do for her school project? “I need photos of friends smiling with glee,” she explains. Bentley gets super excited and exclaims, “Pick me, pick me! It’s easy peasy! Just pose and grin a little cheesy!”
Betty takes Bentley’s picture and then takes Mr. Bee’s picture – the two besties are happy to help. But then Betty explains that she needs more photos, lots more. Bentley thinks for a minute, and then tells the reader that, “I had a fantabulous idea.” He suggests that they take a walk around the block where they’ll find friends from their crew.
Bentley, Betty, and Mr. Bee soon come upon the local watering hole where they find Laila Ladybug sitting on a rock. Laila is talking with Coco Centipede and Betty asks if she can snap their picture. Bentley adds, “It’s easy peasy. Just pose and grin a little cheesy!” Laila and Coco agree, “As long as you keep the birds at bay, we can play with you today.”
The story continues as Betty takes picture after picture of all her friends. Will she be able to get enough photos to complete her school project?
The author of Bentley’s Fantabulous Idea, Miki Taylor, is planning a full series of books showcasing the fantastic trio of Bentley, Betty, and Mr. Bee. This first adventure takes a simple topic, a school project that seems overwhelming, and shows the reader what is possible when friends work together to help each other. Betty is overwhelmed and doesn’t know where to start on her project – who should she take pictures of? How do you ask them? How do you get them to smile? But with Bentley and Mr. Bee’s help, the stressful assignment becomes a fun day out with all the neighborhood creatures. The text is also a bit repetitive, in the best of ways, with Bentley repeating the “easy peasy” comment every time they ask someone to pose, and with the animals posing saying they’ll agree to having their picture taken as long as Betty and her friends agree to keep the predators away. The repetitive and rhyming nature of these two lines that get repeated throughout the story will soon have youngsters joining in the fun and shouting out their answers. To add another element of fun, the author has hidden an African violet and a little cardinal somewhere in the book (she explains their significance) as well as numerous predator animals within the pages of the story - can you find them all? I can't wait to meet with Bentley, Betty, and Mr. Bee in their next adventure.
Quill says: Bentley’s Fantabulous Idea is a fantabulous new book that shows children, in a brilliant way, how much you can achieve when you work together.
For more information on Bentley's Fantabulous Idea, please visit the author’s website at: https://mikitaylor.com/