Curiosity is written by Gerald Allen Wunsch and published by AuthorHouse and comes in a paperback format. The cover of the book is printed on full color glossy high quality cardboard. The pages of the books are printed on acid free "pulp-like" paper, and there seems to be some inconsistencies in the typeface (poor printing) as shown below. That's the most extreme example though...the fonts are mostly printed properly, unless you look too hard.
I finished reading the book in less than an hour. It's not meant for my age group - Curiosity is a children's novel. However, I did learn something from the book. I did not know about the Underground Railroad (upon which this book is based) and how it ties in with the American Civil War, the slave trade and the revolution. That makes it iteresting reading - the book is based on historical accounts, so it's informational as well as readable.
The protagonists are two girls named Ginger Wanamaker and Irene Fong. The book goes out of the way to introduce cultural diversity, which isn't a bad thing.
The best thing about this book is the "Choose your own adventure" type ending to certain chapters. This is illustrated in the photo above - the reader can flip to the back of the book to learn about real information.
This excerpt is about Wire Fox Terriers and contains interesting information about these dogs. The dog in the book is based on the author's own dog. There are a few situations that are based around the author's life and some characters are based on the people around him. My only gripe about the footnotes is that it only appears in the first few chapters and tapers off towards the end of the book.
The content of the book is interesting - it slips themes of racial tolerance and historical accounts in the fictional story. I imagine that some parents would want a book like this for their children. It manages to keep the reader interested in the adventures of the protagonists while telling a historical narrative and indirectly promotes cultural tolerance. The other good thing about it is that there's a list of web sites at the end of the book for people who wants to read further into the Underground Railroad.
I would prefer to rate a book by the "Whether I'll buy it or not" criteria instead of giving arbitrary scores. Would I buy Curiosity? No, but hear me out. It's coz I'm not in the target audience and my reading interests lie elsewhere. I just bought The Road of Excess: A History of Writers on Drugs and The Strength of the Wolf: The Secret History of America's War on Drugs from Amazon, so the subject matter of books I like is not exactly a big secret.
The better question to ask is "Would I buy Curiosity for my kids?" I would.
I started reading at a very early age and I fully expect my children to surpass me so I'll recommend this for children aged 5 and below. I hope that my progeny would understand the themes this book goes into before that age, since children are supposed to be faster, stronger, better than their parents and I had understood complex themes when I was 7. I should note that the book is suggested for children aged 9 - 12 though.
The Amazon list price is US$ 11.45 (RM 43.51), which is a bit steep for Malaysians due to the currency conversion, but it'll be fine for countries with a more robust currency.
Thanks to Martha Wunsch and AuthorHouse [authorhouse.com] for the free review copy.