Monday, January 30, 2012

A long overdue review: The Fiendish Primer

Many, many, many months back, J. Snyder mentioned over Twitter that she was working on an alphabet primer that used a bunch of classic D&D monsters for the various letters. Having a pair of kids, one of whom is (now) old enough to start to get into ABC books, I'd asked about whether the artwork was really kid-friendly, or if this was really being targeted at older gamers for a nostalgic feeling. She answered that she thought it was OK for kids, but I'd probably have to decide for myself.  We eventually worked out that I'd get a complimentary PDF copy in exchange for a review. This is that review.

First off, if you read through and decide you like it, you should know where to get yourself a copy. The answer is here, for the price of $1.99.

The PDF is short and two the point -- a cover page, a copyright page, 26 pages for the actual letters, and an about-the-author page. The illustrations are pretty cartoony, and there are none that I'd have a problem with showing a 3-year-old in my family. The poems to go with the letters are all pretty cute, although parents would be able to tell that Ms. Snyder isn't a full-time children's author. My issue isn't with the vocabulary, since as a PDF-only book it's not something that a kid would be reading all by themselves -- at least, not in my house. There are several words that are likely to provoke a "What does that mean?" although they could be pretty quickly answered by the parent who's reading the book to the kid.  However, the meter has uneven patches, and the rhymes between consecutive letters are sometimes more approximate than exact. The uneven meter won't stand out to a kid, but the uneven rhyming could. I think that within the realm of fair use I can quote the first four letters, especially because the purchase page shows the first two:

"A is for Aboleth, it's you he despises..
B is for Basilisk who gaze petrifies.
C is for Catoblepas who kills with a stare.
D is for Doppelganger, a double affair."

I'd say that it's at least worth a look, and Ms. Snyder has done good stuff elsewhere, so I don't have any problems with giving this a 4-star (out of 5) assessment.
Post a Comment