The Adventures of Pinch and Nardo
by Kenneth Fuerstinger
Writers Republic

"Pinch entered the never-ending forest with one only thing on his mind—what his parents said. ‘Pinch, you must find your special purpose in life.’"

In this vibrant children's book, Feurstinger takes his readers on several adventures with Pinch and Nardo—both strangers to one another at the beginning of the book—who become the best of friends by the end. Pinch, an inchworm, embarks on a journey to find his purpose in life after losing his parents. Despite his small size, he braves the never-ending forest his parents had once told him would lead him to his destiny in life. Surrounded by the unknown, Pinch has no way of knowing which way to go or what exactly his parents had in mind. By chance, he meets Nardo, a frog who helps him when he's stuck. Nardo eventually joins Pinch on his journey, hoping to also find his own special purpose in life. Along the way, they recognize their differences and similarities, both of which strengthen their bond.

The colored pencil illustrations that accompany the story bring texture to the pages and are filled with bright colors that pop off the page like an invitation. Aside from the drawings, most of the tale is told through dialogue and easy-to-read language, making the book very approachable for both children and any parents who wish to read alongside or for their child. Although the text would benefit from some additional editing, the errors do not detract from the story's intention. Furthermore, although some parts of the dialogue can feel repetitive and awkward at times, there is a bit of humor to be appreciated when Pinch and Nardo talk to one another. They don't just become friends in name but feel like it on the page with the easy way they speak to each other.

This easygoing friendship plays a lot into what the book is actually about. On the surface, it looks like Pinch's mission—looking for a special purpose in life—is the point of the plot. However, Feurstinger leaves several themes between the lines that define the book more than the initial mission that set everything into motion. As a result, the journey ends up holding more meaning than the destination. This is as it should be in holding up with the themes Feurstinger explores. Among others, themes that he portrays are in the friendship between Pinch and Nardo, embracing diversity for those who look and are different than you, accepting yourself for who you are, extending the same acceptance to those around you, and that it is the differences that bridge the gap between people and that make diversity complimentary.

Though not as explicit as Pinch's search for purpose, these positive messages make the book's plot and characters as bright and playful as the colorful illustrations inside. Consequently, this book opens the door for discussion between children and their parents about friendship, diversity, acceptance, etc. Lastly, perhaps the most positive and important message the book has to offer for both children and adults alike is the realization that people create their own purposes in life as well as their own destinies. In addition to being an enjoyable adventure for youngsters, the author's thought-provoking tale may foster some important discussions between parents and their children.

Return to USR Home