Thursday, January 31, 2013

Attack of the Chicken Nugget Man: a review

We homeschool, but at some point in the near future our second grader will likely be taking some form of standardized test. We use the usual bland Test prep books and I was excited to check out an alternative called Attack of the Chicken Nugget Man: A National Test Prep Adventure. It is written by educator, Kamar Sathy.

'This laugh-out-loud children's book is aligned with the new Common Core State Standards. It covers 2nd - 5th grade English Language Arts and Mathematics. Attack of the Chicken Nugget Man: A National Test Prep Adventure is a hilarious story that teaches and references curriculum concepts that students in all states need to learn!'

My review of the book is in two parts –my opinion and that of our Second grader.

I thought the introduction for parents and educators was very helpful and I was excited to get to the rest of it. I enjoyed the first two chapters, especially  the reading comprehension questions at the end of each chapter. By the end of the fourth chapter I was starting to have my doubts about the storyline. I was unsure how a story about unbearably stinky bus rides and bullies are supposed to alleviate test anxiety. I understand the book is fiction. The story is supposed to hold the attention of students Grade 2-5 while they are practicing with the multiple choice questions and learning test strategies. The teachable moments are skillfully disguised in the story. The concept is good, it was the plot I took issue with.

I finished the book and  DD7, seeing the cartoon pictures, wanted to read it. I handed over my kindle. Half an hour later she was still reading and I asked her what she thought. She says ‘it’s fine' and goes back to reading’. Her usual chapter book genre is anything Animal, Unicorns and fairies, so I was surprised. Apparently the only thing she had to complain about was that there were no pictures of Chicken nugget man. So there we have it, DD implied I was overreacting and suggests I didn’t like it because ‘you’re not a kid’.

Overall, it is great to see an alternative to Test preparation workbooks. I have some reservations about the storyline but it is clearly not aimed towards the Mama demographic. As DD points out it is for kids. It would be great to see some other story lines in the future. DD suggests a female Super hero.

I was sent Attack of the Chicken Nugget man in exchange for an honest review. to be submitted to Student Solutions, Inc, via Netgalley. I will not receive any monetary compensation from the publisher or Netgalley. The links to amazon do contain affiliate links where I do receive a small commission for any purchases made through this link.