Better Than Nice
by Sonya Faraci
Trafford Publishing

"To share with a friend... was better than nice!"

Better Than Nice is a straightforward story of friendship between a young girl and boy and their time spend together while at a camp. Annie and Ted become friends, and following Annie's lead the two friends explore the outdoor environ that is set by the mouth of a river next to the sea. It doesn't matter what type of activity they engage in. The only thing that Annie and Ted wish for is that their time together never ends.

New author Sonya Faraci bases her debut children's book on "some of her most cherished childhood memories" during the time that she lived with her maternal grandparents. Focusing on the joys of childhood, Faraci's rhyming couplets carry a lilting quality alongside Ronie Pios's tranquil illustrations of two children who find satisfaction sharing the simple aspects of life. Unique to Faraci's plot is the concept of exploration, which is not only a natural quality of children, but is an appealing feature for young readers. Examples include fishing, picking fruit, celebrating a holiday, hunting for eggs, and chasing birds along the beach.

Although the character of Annie does not aptly fit the description of "dark and lovely," young readers will be enamored with the storyline and childlike depictions, plus they will have a chance to learn a thing or two in the process. One obvious feature is Faraci's use of poetry, which gives readers the chance to identify rhyming words as well as the rhythm to the poem's singsong pattern. There are also words (i.e., snipes, loons, and gillies) and scenes (i.e., ice and basket fishing) that may be unfamiliar to children, which provides a wonderful opportunity for further research. Better Than Nice is one book that children will enjoy reading over and over.

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