The Children of Slowville Book 1 

Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite

Ben, Savya, Kimaya, Oliver and Mei are best friends. They live in Slowville and attend a school that is set in a pretty park-like setting on top of the roof of an apartment building. There’s something very calming about Slowville. It’s comfortable, safe and ecologically/ environmentally friendly. People walk or ride their bikes to respect the environment. They even grow and raise their own food. Everything about the town is green and caring for each other and for the environment. So, when the teacher takes the best friends on a field trip to a farm, it’s small wonder that not only do they learn about the animals on the farm, but they are actively involved in helping rescue an abandoned, newly born calf and a cow stuck in the muddy pond. Another field trip takes the children to a nearby seniors' home where they will make lunch and share it with the residents. Two great stories about caring for the environment and for each other.

If only the world was like Slowville! Madly Chatterjee’s picture book story, The Children of Slowville/ Les Enfants de Slowville, is a charming story told in both English and French. The colorful watercolor paintings certainly enliven the story which is calmly told with compassion in a voice that will both soothe and entertain while educating the young reader. Written bilingually, this story will also help young readers master both English and French reading skills. The plot develops steadily with some excitement to keep the interest growing. And, there’s a page to color or paint at the end of the book. A great learning experience.

Reviewed by Lor Bingham

Madly Chaterjee, children’s author, has created this incredibly special dual-language book.

When Madly began writing, she wanted to create a book which had a setting that was totally child-friendly, animal-friendly and eco-friendly. A story where children would immerse themselves in a positive world, full of generosity, kindness and happiness. This book has definitely achieved that!

This storybook stands out against so many others because it has a very unusual element to it- it is written in both English and French. The two different languages run alongside each other in a way which isn’t at all distracting to the story- each page has the English at the top and the French at the bottom. It is a fantastic way to enjoy reading for young children who are being brought up with two languages or who wish to learn other languages. I also think that it is a great way to show all children that there are other languages out there in the world.

This is book 1 of a series (we can’t wait to see the following books!) Within this book are two stories which are both set within Slowville and have the same characters but are two stand-alone stories. You get two books for the price of one!

The first story tells of the children visiting a farm with their school. Instead of it being a basic story that would just introduce what a farm is like and the animals that you may find there, this story is an adventure. The children find a lost cow and help the farmers to rescue it and have it be reunited with its Mum. There are several moments of tension and quite a lot of excitement and a lovely happy ending.

In the second story, the children are helping make meals for the residents of an old peoples’ home and are having a lovely morning, until they realise one of the residents has failed to turn up to the dinner. They set out to try and find her, but will they find her? And will there be any raspberry tarts left if they do?!

I like bothof these stories as they are about caring for people/animals within the community and teach good values but also because the stories are full of fun and little bits of tension- just the right amount for a children’s story.

I read these stories with my 7 year old who enjoyed them. He could read the majority of the words and liked trying to read it independently. The way the text is broken up it doesn’t make it look intimidating- just a few sentences on each page and lots of bright pictures to enhance the story. My little boy liked the farm story best because he was excited to know what would happen to the cow that was stuck.

When I read these stories with my little boy, it opened up some conversations- why do some old people live in homes? What do they do all day? Why don’t we visit them? When can we next go to the farm?

I enjoyed reading this with my little boy and I know many others will enjoy it too. These are gentle stories which emphasise caring for others and looking after our environment. It makes lovely escapism for the busy world we live in, that’s for sure. We read this in English as we don’t speak French but the French words being on the page too was exciting for my little one who was very interested to find out that some people can speak more than one language!

These stories definitely do what the author set out to- they open children’s minds to being kind, there being diversity and provide them with stories which they can unwind to. 

The pictures are beautifully illustrated- colourful and fun. They enhance the story and have it come to life really well.

I think that this series will be very much loved by many. It’s lovely to have stories to read which are about communities all working together and looking after each other. I am very much looking forward to seeing what else The Children of Slowville get up to in the future books.

~ Kevin for We Love Indie Books

The Children of Slowville is a fun, engaging read that speaks about the children of a town called Slowville and all of the fun things that happen in it. The book begins by speaking a little bit about the town and introducing the main characters, the children. It then goes into a few different stories about them and some fun adventures that they have.

The first adventure is a day on the city farm. A cute story about learning about the animals on the farm, how they behave and even a rescue story or two! This story is lovely and gives a great narration about care, love and taking care of animals.

Next the book speaks about taking care of each other. Mrs. Rose and Her Pigeon speaks about the children going to a retirement home to cook lunch for the residents there. One of those residents who holds a special place in their hearts is Mrs. Rose. She always loves to see the children and participate in their lunch for the people at the retirement home. After making lunch and spending time with some of the residents the children notice that Mrs. Rose is not there. They embark on a mission to find her.

The Children of Slowville is a wonderful book that teaches great lessons for children and adults alike. One thing that I loved about the book is the use of two languages, English and French. I am not entirely sure of why it has both languages, but I would imagine it is because the author may live in, or close to Quebec Canada where both languages are spoken.

The stories themselves are fabulous. They are well written and keep the readers wanting to learn more. I love how the children discover a problem and work to solve the problem. This teaches kids that problems can tricky but they can be solved if you put in hard work and use critical thinking.

Another aspect of the book that I really like is the artwork. Very colorful and engaging with the book. The illustrator should be commended in that. It goes well with the story.

At the end of the book there is a coloring page just for fun. That always adds a fun element to the story besides just the reading.

Overall, I would definitely recommend this book to be read to your children. It has fun stories, great lessons, and a great way to learn new things. It can be a treasure for your family and kids that they will want to read over and over.

 

The Children of Slowville Book 2 

by Megan Willms by email

FANTASTIC book! What a beautiful surprise. I was right on the roller coaster for this one ("The Little Surprise"): suspense, relief, joy…It felt it!

Also so cool that the kids problem solve AND work together! The wagon, the picnic sheet. You’re effectively normalizing kind behaviour and I love it!

I also love how they treat animals. They handle the sheep with care and even show concern for the dog by putting it in the wagon so it doesn’t get tired. (Normalizing kind behaviour again! Great touch!)

You also teach kids about sharing: The rabbit eats the carrot but the kids laugh it off because it’s no big deal to share what you have. Love this!

Nice short sentences and easy to read. AMAZING illustrations and so cool that it is in French and English. The picture and wording placement is spot on aesthetically and it’s such a fun read. [...]

Again so beautifully done and amazing illustrations! Thank you for letting me read these. You are a fantastic writer :D  

This second book in a fun bilingual French / English series is about a group of children who live in the town of Slowville. This town has no cars, and the residents love animals and nature.
As with the first book, this book contains 2 separate interesting stories, and has lovely, bright watercolour illustrations.
In the first story, the kids rescue a sheep in distress, while they are out enjoying a picnic after flying their kites. They then make an unexpected discovery!
In the second story, 3 of the kids head off for a boat ride with their Dad. Engine trouble cause them to pull in to make repairs, and while ashore they have a rather scary close encounter with wild boar.
Kids will enjoy these further 2 stories, and will find themselves learning a new language effortlessly.