The Watch Out for Joel! Series was written by Sigmund Brouwer. The first book in the series, Bad Bug Blues, was copyrighted in 2002 and was published by Bethany House Publishers. It has 29 pages and is for beginning readers ages 6-8. My 3 year-old and 5 year-old both enjoyed having the story read to them again and again.
Ricky and Joel need to go to a concert with Old Mr. Jones. They enjoy part of the concert, the go out for ice cream, where they all become friends. Joel and Ricky did not want to go, but their mother says Old Mr. Jones needs friends. Joel takes his jar of caterpillars and he lets them out during the concert. Old Mr. Jones has fallen asleep and one of the caterpillars crawls over his mustache. When Old Mr. Jones wakes up the caterpillar falls into his mouth. He bites down and swallows half of the caterpillar. Joel, Ricky and Old Mr. Jones leave the concert, because Old Mr. Jones needs ice cream to get the caterpillar taste out of his mouth. Joel and Ricky learn that they should be kind to others. Friends can be made when you least expect it.
Sigmund Brouwer has won many awards and holds writing camps and classes for more than 10,000 children each year. He is also the author of the Accidental Detectives series for older children.
This few illustrations were by Tammie Lyon. The characters are realistically drawn and my favorite picture is the one with Mr. Jones and the caterpillar in his mouth.
There are two section in the book to give the reader more information. The section at the beginning of the book talk about being kind to others. The section at the back of the book discusses the lesson in kindness and different discussion questions that can't be discussed with a parent or teacher.
The theme for this book is taken from Proverbs 17:17, about how friends need to show their love to one another. This book shows us that if we are kind it will come back to us and we may even make new friends. I had that experience just the other day, when I was at a store and let somebody go first to get popcorn. The man got the popcorn for my two children instead of himself.
I liked how the book repeated a lot of phrases, to help the reader lean the words. I did not like how they all called Mr. Jones, “Old Mr. Jones.” I thought that was very disrespectful.
I would recommend reading this book. It is funny and different themes from the Bible are learned. The large print and white pages make it easier for beginner readers to be excited about reading.