Score 91/100 (9.1 out of 10)
This short, sweet, and entertaining children's book will have you and your children saying “Handy Dandy Randy McCrandy” with ease by the end of it!
Handy Dandy Randy McCrandy by Jeffrey Schoenherr follows the titular character, a man who loves to help people around town and acts as the lifeguard of the Loch Ness. That presents the additional issue of the Loch being the home to the monster that made it world-famous!
Interestingly, this is the second book this season that features one of the world's most iconic cryptids, the other being also being a children's book (Frederick Moody) which featured Big Foot. There's something about cryptids—these mythical creatures—that somehow continues to fascinate the modern imagination, stirring excitement and curiosity.
Though this particular book isn't keen on mystery (with the Loch Ness Monster being presented in a very matter-of-fact manner), it's still really cool and exciting to see Nessie. Nessie isn't necessarily the greatest illustration we've seen, but she's cute and eye-catching. Children will be able to distinguish between times when Nessie is “scary” or times when Nessie appears concerned or even friendly. Likewise, Randy McCrandy's facial expressions are also very animated, and he's almost certainly the best illustrated character (or thing) in this book.
When we first went through this book, it was very apparent that the illustrations were not stellar. At the same time, as we've covered, they accomplish the task of showcasing fun and interesting characters as well as an amusing story. It was very easy to overlook the illustrations compared to other books this season, some of which were lacking in other areas. The fact of the matter is: looks aren't everything.
One really great thing about this book is that it subverts your expectations. You think that the Loch Ness Monster is going to be like the shark from Jaws, instead she ends up being like Falkor (the flying lion-dragon thing from Neverending Story).
We love that this is a fun, positive, feel-good story. It definitely brought smiles on our faces!
Check it out on the official site!