Frog's Boy Scout and other books
Written and illustrated by Joshua Smith
Paperback editions $9.95 and up Artwork/Ebooks .99-$1.99
At the LL Book Review, we have reviewed a wide variety of books in a little over a year. Fiction, non-fiction, children's and young adult, memoirs, and mysteries, to philosophical tomes that give us a new way of thinking. One thing all of the books reviewed have in common is they are all written by authors who believe in their work enough to pursue the hard road of self-publishing. Now, don't get me wrong, I am not saying the path of traditional publishing is an easy one, because it is not, but it is different than the path of self-publishing. I'm not going to provide the battling viewpoints of the self-published vs. traditionally published debate at this time either. However, I am going to talk about one of the areas where self-publishing, using a POD service such as Lulu.com has traditional publishing houses beat. They publish anything. If you would like to publish a book, you can. There is an immediacy to the process that traditional publishing will never match, and there is a great deal of satisfaction that the authors feel from being able to hold a bound copy of their work in their hands.
I am sure this the case with author Joshua Smith. Joshua is an eight year old, who definitely works on his craft as a writer. He also illustrates all of his books. With the loving support of his parents, Joshua has written, illustrated, and published 24 children's books via Lulu.com. That, in and of itself, is an amazing feat. It makes me feel like I may have started late in life because I only started writing my first, never to see the light of day, book at the age of nine. Some of the books are Joshua's versions of existing tales such as Jack in the Beanstalk or Charlotte's Web, and others are his own original work. In addition to the 24 books, Joshua has several art pieces which he has published as download files. He has a bold color sense and the happiness of the pieces leaps off the page.
Joshua, with the help of his father, requested a review of his books about Charlie Smart, the frog. Frogs just happen to be one of Joshua's passions, so it is natural that one of his favorite characters to write about is a frog. I had the pleasure of sampling three of Joshua's frog books, Frog Goes to the Circus, Frog Has a Super Hero, and Frog's Boy Scout. In reading these books, it is clear that Joshua takes his muse from his own life experiences and then uses those experiences with the character of Charlie Smart. In Frog Has a Super Hero, the artwork is primarily pencil sketches, whereas, Frog Goes to the Circus and Frog's Boy Scout are very colorful. Joshua's work is improving as he gets older, and whether he stays with illustrated books or starts working on longer pieces, I think his dedication to writing is clear. My favorite piece of those I read was Frog's Boy Scout, because I felt that Joshua's artwork was becoming a little more detailed and complex and the story line had challenges that Charlie Smart had to overcome.
I would like to see Joshua progress from hand writing his stories in pencil to having them typed, and to work with his parents and teachers, both of whom it is clear support him in his endeavors, to do some editing. As he hones his skills as both a writer and an illustrator, I'm sure he will continue to write stories to entertain and delight his siblings, as well as those around him.
Reviewed for the LL Book Review
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