Thursday, March 27, 2014

Must-Have Marvin: a review and GIVEAWAY!

A few weeks ago, I wrote about how I was selected to review a new children's book called Must-Have Marvin. Well, since that time, the book has come, we've read, and now I'm here to review (and offer a GIVEAWAY!).

The short answer of my review is that I liked it. I didn't love it, but I liked it.

"Must-Have Marvin" is the story of a kid named Marvin who is pretty much obsessed with having everything that's the latest and greatest. From a t-shirt to shoes to a new robot toy, if it's cool/new/hip, Marvin wants it! In the middle of the story, Marvin uses his own money (including "his secret reserves") to buy a "Super Galactic Robot"--his latest obsession. His dad agrees to take him to the store "after dinner, when your homework is done." Once he has the new toy, his relationships suffer and with the help of a wise neighbor, he soon realizes that things are no match for friendships. He has a change of heart and then saves the soccer team's trip from being cancelled, having put his friends on the team (and his relationship with them) before his new toy robot.

The things that stood out most to me about this book are:
-Marvin is black. (Or at least some version of dark skin. His brother and parents are as well.) One page showing the soccer team has kids that fall all along the color spectrum. But as much as attention was paid to skin color, I don't see anything in the way of different able-ness. One girl has glasses, but it appears that everyone is able to help plant a garden, play instruments, participate in the soccer team, etc. The diversity felt a little forced, to me, since it was only diversity in the skin color.

-Marvin buys the robot with his own money. There isn't a mention of his parents being unwilling or unable to buy it, he just digs through his money as soon as he has the idea of wanting the robot. I love the idea of him buying it with his own money, but found it odd somehow that it wasn't discussed.

-His dad takes him to buy the toy that very night after his homework was done. That also felt like bit of a moral plant without explicitly stating it and I guess I just prefer it being explicit?

-It's a bit hokey how he saves the soccer trip, but it's a children's book, so that's sorta to be expected.

-Marvin ends the book with "The only things I really HAVE to have are my FRIENDS." While I appreciate the message, as a Christ-follower, what I really want my children to need more than anything is a relationship with Christ. Friends are better than things, but Salvation through Christ trumps even the best of friendships.

-There are stars on each page, each either being perky/happy looking or looking sad. This is to help kids see whether Marvin is making a good decision or a bad one. For us, it was just fun for Austin to find all the stars and point to them.

So, again, I liked the book. I recommend the book. I definitely will be adding the other books in this series to my boys' wish lists (which is so far just THIS ONE), but just know that it tends toward predictability and doesn't have a faith component. It would be great if you have a kid who's having a problem with this.
It comes with a dust jacket with glitter!
Austin is pointing to a star.
Here's an example of a sad star.
GIVEAWAY time! Leaving a comment (with your name!) wins you one entry.
I'll be doing the random drawing on the 7th. The winner will be sent a brand-new copy of Must-Have Marvin.

UPDATE 4-7-14: Kristina wins the drawing! Thanks to everyone who entered. Stay tuned for my next giveaway.

"Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification."


  1. Sounds like a great book - one entry for Amanda R.

  2. This is one we haven't read yet... I'm in :)

  3. I would love a copy of this book! I recently purchased the book 'How Full Is Your Bucket for Kids' and after reading it once to my kids it changed the way they talk to each other (in a good way). I would love to read this book to my kids. One entry for Kristina S. Please :)

    1. You won! Congrats!!! Send me an email to SLSpofford at hotmail so I can coordinate sending you the book.