Whilst it is great to get feedback for any of our products, it is always a nerve-wracking process. We asked for honest, relevant critique for our gymnastics story book and therefore opened the flood gates for the good bad and the ugly. You would think that with time we would harden up to the criticism and I think that to some extent we have due to having received just as much positive reviews. However putting so much into each of our projects and products means that when the improvements are suggested we can feel frustrated that we hadn’t thought more in the designing process.
With our Jumping Jack and Bendy Wendy gymnastics story book almost reaching its half a year Birthday, it was a perfect time to celebrate by sending out some freebies and getting some of your feedback. This first edition is exactly that – it is our first venture (hopefully of many) into this completely new genre of gymnastics story books. It will therefore be re-edited when we do a new print run so your feedback is invaluable.
The response we have had on social media and Amazon has been phenomenal with the feedback being positive, negative and lots of suggestions for improvement. Below you can find examples of the positive responses with highlights being that children are finding the names of the characters endearing and that they are enjoying having a go at the movements.
By A. Rose on 18 Dec. 2016
This book was loved by our shy little girl who actually liked the exercises but didn’t want to do them in front of other children. After a few sessions of stretching, balancing and bending, she was soon wanting to show us what she could do and is now much happier exercising with other children,
The book itself is a nice shiny square book with illustrations a little bit like the Charlie & Lola graphics. The words are simple to read yet accurate in use and context. It’s a good book to read and ‘show’ at the same time. The names are funny and the characters, Wendy and Jack, are endearing and like-able. The exercises shown are good warm up movements (stretching, bending etc.) and are a good all round exercise regime that youngsters should be doing and can easily do in the home, mostly, or get them ready for what to expect in the school gym. A good confidence booster.
By SonicQuack on 1 Nov. 2016
Almost every child will have trepidation about starting a new class, be it school or a sports/social club. My two certainly did and although they are both now gymnasts, this book would have been an ideal ice-breaker. We have a close friend who’s youngest is considering joining the local gymnastics school and this will be a great aid in boosting her confidence prior to going.
It’s a cleverly worded and illustrated book. It will appeal to children of either gender (since it stars a boy and a girl). There is a stack of positive reinforcement inside. Every drawn child is always smiling, the language they use is simple but direct and positive, the use of bold and over-sized words ensure the salient points are very clear – but its all presented in a fun and exciting manner. The basics of gymnastics are all included as fun activities that are welcome at the gym: rolling, stretching, bending, jumping; none of that sounds difficult.
The size of the book is deceiving, the story is actually quite long for a book of this nature – go it’s very good value for money.
A brilliant approach from a writer that is clearly clued up. Recommended as a pre-start read for any young potential gymnast.
You would expect that when you ask for critique some of the feedback is not so positive, criticisms regularly mention the advertising at the back of the book. So this advertisement will be removed or made smaller in the future edition. The graphics are mentioned quite a lot in the three star reviews. We are confident about the characters although they have been described as ‘stick people’ by some reviewers. When reading the gymnastics story book to children in school they have been very positive and liked the characters. However considering this we will look at the backgrounds in the next edition and see if we can make some big improvements. Below you can find some of the three star reviews;
This is an okay book that tells the story of a boy and a girl called Wendy and Jack who are starting gymnastics and feeling a little nervous about it.
The rest of the class are nice and welcoming and soon Jack and Wendy settle in and make lots of friends plus become Superstar Gymnasts.
The story is okay and would be good if your child was starting gymnastics but it has not captured my children’s attention each time we have sat down to read it. I also don’t like the advertising on the inside back pages for other products from the company and I feel that it gives the book a sort of advertising pamphlet feel.
The illustrations are simple but bright but the story just doesn’t seem to go anywhere and as I mentioned above I’m not a fan of the marketing and my children haven’t taken to the book so for me it’s just okay.
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What’s this? )
This is the tale of Wendy and Jack who start gymnastics classes and feel a bit unsure about it all. They soon learn that it’s great fun and not at all scary. They learn lots of new moves, meet some new friends and have fun along the way. The story itself is a fun, lighthearted introduction to gymnastics for little ones and I liked it, but I wasn’t a fan of the graphics which seemed a bit basic and simplistic, though still bright and clear.
Now when we said that opening the flood gates to feedback leads to the good the bad and the ugly this is what we mean when it comes to the ‘ugly’;
Gemma Coles has turned her career teaching children gymnastics into a range of books, DVDs, sportswear and now an app, and I guess you don’t become that successful without having a great deal of self-confidence in your abilities.
Perhaps too much confidence in this case, however, as really this book is something that a more self-critical author might have thought twice about publishing . The illustrations are very basic indeed, barely more than stick figures, done I think on some primitive entry-level piece of graphics software along the lines of Paint, and the ‘story’ barely qualifies as a narrative, as stick figures Wendy and Jack are a bit nervous about starting gymnastics, enter some white space and meet some other stick figures doing gymnastics, among some ill-chosen fonts, then feel better about going to gymnastics. If you just want some quotidian book that will theoretically make your son or daughter less nervous about attending gymclass, I suppose this will do, but there’s been absolutely no creative effort of any kind put into it’s concept or execution. It looks like it was written in about ten minutes, by someone who can’t really write anyway, and then illustrated in an afternoon by someone who can’t draw.
This review initially left us feeling wounded, a bit like finally learning your back flip at gymnastics after months of hard graft to achieve it only to be told that it was rubbish. However as this review says we have a lot of confidence in what we do and like learning a back flip we will learn to make everything that we do better in the future. To propel this book forwards and make the improvements we will employ editors and adapt the graphics so watch this space for edition two.
When receiving reviews we have talked about our gymnastics story book being designed for children but their adult parents being the ones leaving the reviews. We wonder what your little-ones would write if they were able to pen a detailed review. The children that we teach in the gymnastics regularly have great ideas for adapting things and help us improve as we teach them. So if your budding gymnast is a keen writer or makes a comment about our products that could really help us please send us their feedback.
We have loved receiving pictures from this giveaway, each and every one has been a pleasure to receive. We have posted them below for you to enjoy;
Thank you for all the support you have given us with this gymnastics story book.
Gemma and the team at Head Over Heels Gymnastics. x