By Debbie Dadey and Marcia T. Jones, Illustrated by John Steven Gurney
Published by: Scholastic Paperbacks (June 1, 2004)
Available in: paperback
At the time of this review there were 51 books in The Adventures of the Bailey School Kids series.
Kids love consistency.
Especially when they are just becoming independent readers, kids love a series. They love to spend time with the same characters, go to the same place and know that something interesting will happen. They might not know what will happen, but the fact that the framework stays the same is comforting and friendly.
The Adventures of the Bailey School Kids is a hugely successful series that gives kids that framework. The same four friends, two girls and two boys, guide readers through each book. They bicker and play jokes, say stupid stuff and act silly. They also run into someone who might or might not be from the mythical world. There is a mystery incident or question that the four friends try to figure out. It’s an easy, fast read shared with known friends in a safe (aside from that mythical character) environment. It’s a good place for kids to feel comfortable in their new-found literacy.
Dracula Doesn’t Play Kickball is just one of the many, many books in this series. Others include characters such as a wolfman, mermaid, swamp monster, gremlin, pirate and more. In addition, there is a prequel series, holiday specials, joke books and more. For kids who get hooked, they will probably grow out of the series before they run out of books to read.
Is the writing stellar or fresh? Are the illustrations exciting? Is there anything truly exceptional going on? Not really. But perhaps, at this stage in reading, this enough. Certainly many series don’t pan out, and the fact that the Bailey School Kids are alive and well makes them reliable friends. And anyone—young readers included—can never have too many friends.
What do you say teachers, parents and writers? Use the comment below and let’s chat….