Thursday, September 16, 2010

BBAW: Forgotten Treasure - Review: Terrific

Today’s theme for Book Blogger Appreciation Week is Forgotten Treasures:

Thursday—Forgotten Treasure
Sure we’ve all read about Freedom and Mockingjay but we likely have a book we wish would get more attention by book bloggers, whether it’s a forgotten classic or under marketed contemporary fiction.  This is your chance to tell the community why they should consider reading this book!

There are plenty of classic children’s books that I love: James and the Giant Peach, Charlotte’s Web, Anne of Green Gables, The Velveteen Rabbit, In the Night Kitchen…and so many more that I’m not remembering right now.  Of those, only the last one has thus far been shared with Boo.  The others all will be as well once Boo’s old enough to appreciate them.

But I figured I’d instead tackle a book that seems to be going out of print far before its time.  Maybe I’m wrong.  Maybe the publishers are pausing before a re-release or a special edition.  After all, this book has been included on some impressive lists: Publisher’s Weekly Best Children’s Books 2005, New York Times Notable Children’s Book of 2005, Child Magazine Best Children’s Books 2005, and a bunch more.

However, a quick search of,,, and Barnes & Noble reveal that you can only by it used, not fresh off the shelf. And considering I bought our copy in a Chapters bargain bin for $2 a year and a half ago, I’m not overly optimistic.

And so, here it is.  If it sounds appealing, you might want to grab one before it disappears completely.  And just so you know I’m not the only person impressed by it, here’s Not Just For Kid’s opinion, too.
Title: Terrific
Author/Illustrator: Jon Agee (website)
Publisher: Hyperion
Year: 2005
Format: Hardcover, also available in Paperback
Pages: 32
Age Range: Toddler, Preschooler, Early Reader
Kid Love Factor: 3.5/5
Adult Sanity Factor: 4/5
Terrific is the story of Eugene, a pessimistic middle-aged man whose response to winning an all-expenses paid cruise to Bermuda is:

“Terrific,” he said. “ I’ll probably get a really nasty sunburn.”

Eugene was clearly not pessimistic enough, because on the way there, the ship sinks in a storm and Eugene ends up washed up on a deserted island.  Well, deserted except for a parrot. 

“Terrific,” said Eugene.  “What good is a parrot?”
[BWACK!] “You’d be surprised,” said the parrot.

Okay, I admit I add the “bwack” in myself.  It helps me get into the role.  
Eugene and his new parrot buddy live off of pomegranates (which Eugene hates) and build a boat from blueprints (sandprints?) the parrot designs.  Who knew parrots made such good draftsmen?  All is almost lost when they shove off, run out of pomegranates, and get taken out by a passing ship, but eventually our castaway does find himself in sunny Bermuda, and I bet he has a much better time there than he thought he would.

Sometimes even really, really bad weeks turn out okay.

There are three characters in the book, Eugene, the parrot, and the (2nd) ship’s captain.  Three is a perfect number of voices for me.  Any more and I start confusing them together.  My husband set the precedent and I followed his lead: Eugene has a deep, gravelly voice; the parrot has, well, a parrot-like voice; and the big brawny ship’s captain  sounds like Fran Drescher.  Well, as close as we can come to Fran Drescher.  Boo really enjoys it.  Boo even imitates it, and if you’ve never heard a two-year-old imitate an imitation of Fran Drescher, it’s something to experience.  Believe me.

Autism Spectrum Bonus: One word: Sarcasm. This is one of the few picture books that really incorporates it in a repeating and obvious way.  With a few read-throughs and perhaps a discussion or two, kids will hopefully start getting the idea that sometimes people say the opposite of what they mean.  It’s often a confusing lesson for people on the spectrum, and it’s one I’m hoping to at least start teaching Boo before someone else (i.e. a bully) does.

Bottom Line:
“Terrific,” said Sam.  “Where are kids going to buy this now?”
“Bwack!” said Boo.


Terrific at

Terrific at


  1. This sounds really cute! Thanks for sharing it!

  2. That's so sad that it's already going out of print! It looks like a cute book.

  3. I'm thrilled to see you review this book! We got it as a gift and I can't count the number of times we've read it. My 3.5yo boy adored it and eventually memorized the whole thing, voices and all. I picked up another of John Agee's, "Zed Goes Home", for $2 at Coles. It became another favourite.


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