The English Roses Review
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When I first heard that Madonna not only published a children’s book, but has also lined up a five-book-contract, I have to admit, I was a bit miffed. I found many peers in the struggling writing community who shared my apprehension.

“She already has enough money, why does she have to cut into our market... can’t she leave that to us?”

“If she had submitted her manuscript under a pen name, it would have never hit the market. She would have had to struggle just like the rest of us.”

“Look at her, how can she possibly write a good children’s book!”

Those were some of the comments we made. Then one day I decided that I shouldn't be judgmental without having the books to judge. After all, I do like her music so I ordered a book through my church’s bookstore and asked them to “just get anything by her as long as it is a children’s book.”

When the order came in, I immediately felt ashamed of myself. The cover art is absolutely beautiful. Then I opened the book and on the back of the jacket, it states that all the proceeds of the book go to The Spirituality for Kids Foundation.

Four little girls, called the English Roses, complain about the beautiful girl down the street. It takes the gentle intervention of a fairy godmother to get the girls to understand how wrong they are.

When I got to page 15 of the 46 pages, Madonna hit me over the head. Not for real, of course, even though in this case being a book review, the term “literally” might be the most fitting after all. Madonna’s writing style is very conversational; phrases such as “I am going to tell your mother.” or “Now stop interrupting me,” make the flow of the story more of a story told freely rather than reading it from a book. It involves the reader/listener taking a more active part in the story.

I especially like Madonna’s portrayal of the Fairy Godmother who is more than happy to help these girls see the truth while pointing out that she does not have all day, as she has other appointments to keep. I find it very refreshing.

Madonna captures the essence of preteen girls in a clique situation quite well. However, on the back of the book is a comment about this book “...and the entire series of five – being for grown-up children as well.” I felt the comment was justified and now I cannot wait to get the next book.

The message I believe Madonna is trying to convey in The English Roses is that you can’t judge a book by its cover...but in this case, however, you can go right ahead and do so. The cover is very beautiful and so is the entire book!

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