Ben & Zip by Joanne Linden Book Review

Ben & Zip: Two Short Friends by Joanne Linden
Publisher: Flashlight Press
Release Date: April 1, 2014

 Ben is short, but his best friend Zip is even shorter. One day while strolling along the boardwalk a summer shower blows in. There's a clap of thunder, and Zip runs off in fear. Being short, Ben has a hard time seeing through the knees and bellies and no matter how high he climbs, he still can't find Zip. Eventually Zip is found beneath the boardwalk, where he and his friend enjoy some hugs and popcorn.

I must be a complete dunce, because when I first started reading this story, based on the cover, I thought Ben & Zip were the two little boys on the cover, not a boy and his dog. Who is that second little boy on the cover? Nobody. Just some random kid who has lost their ice cream to a dog. What a strange choice for the cover art if that child has nothing to do with the story.

Once I realized it was a dog not a kid who was missing, the story got considerably better. There is a fascinating array of different kinds of people that Ben encounters as he searches for Zip. This is both funny and also distracting as I wanted to linger on those pages and didn't really care if they found Zip. (It's a picture book folks. I assumed that Zip would be found eventually) The illustrations were cute, but I am still left wondering, who is that other little boy on the cover?


Shari Dash Greenspan said...

Hi Venus, Thanks for reviewing Ben & Zip. Who is that other little boy on the cover? If you look carefully through the book, you'll find him in three other images: on the opening spread walking with his mom, toward the middle of the book in the ice cream booth with mom replacing the cone that he lost on the cover, and in the background on the last page, enjoying his new cone. He's meant to distract the reader enough so that Zip's identity as a dog is a pleasant surprise at the end, but upon subsequent readings (especially for kids who scour the illustrations), his side story would be discovered eventually. :) Thanks again for the lovely review. Shari Greenspan, Editor, Flashlight Press