This is one of a series of five volumes published by Creative Education, Inc., in the 1980’s, the others being Sally, Robbie, Franchise, and It’s Such a Beautiful Day. All but the last-named are illustrated by David Shannon, who does a very nice job, and all but Sally are about or have a major character who is a non-adult. (Well, Sally techincally has a number of characters who aren’t human adults, but you know what I mean.) It’s a nice idea, in that a young child is more likely to read these stories in this form and go on to bigger and better stuff, but I must admit to being annoyed nonetheless at having to spend some $15 for a hardcover copy of a story of which I already have in several other places. Shannon’s illustrations are (for me) the only real added value these volumes provide, and frankly they‘re good but not that good.
To be fair, I think these books are aimed at libraries, and not private collectors like me—however, inasmuch as my tax dollars are going to support both school and public libraries, I think I can still be a little indignant at the high cost of a volume containing a single story.
These books also set an awkward precedent for someone trying to figure out what to count as an Asimov “book” and what not to count. Glitches in copyrights (or other factors) have led to three of Asimov’s short stories being readily available as ebooks: “Youth,” “Spell My Name With an S,” and “Party by Satellite.” (There are also cases of short stories being originally published as books, such as Good Taste, and Cal, but that’s a sufficiently different situation that I’m comfortable, at least, in not using them as a precedent.) I’m therefore left with a problem: Asimov counted the five volumes put out by Creative Education; would he count the three short-stories-as-ebooks? So far, I’ve used the excuse that I review the three stories individually as an excuse to avoid making a decision…
Enough. This is a terrific story which I enjoy a great deal, and it’s certainly a good choice to hand to a younger reader. I’d definitely recommend the book for its target audience and the story for anybody, even if I am left scratching my head as to why the average Asimov fan should feel any need to actually buy the book.
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