Archive for ‘Early Readers’

November 18, 2011

Aggie Gets Lost

Aggie and Ben are back for a new adventure. Ben takes a restless Aggie to the park for a friendly game of fetch. When oh, oh the ball is thrown a little too far and Aggie gets lost!

The story of a dog being lost and found is perennial. What sets this book apart from others is the simple and emotionally packed writing, complementary pen/ink/watercolor drawings, and the inclusion of a specially gifted friend that helps Ben. The last item was a refreshing surprise, which I will let you discover.

This early reader book has short simple sentences, but they are packed with action and emotion. Take for instance the next few lines which “show” how Ben is going to throw a ball that ends up going far, far away.

“Okay, Aggie. Here is a hard ball,” I say.
I wind my arm fast. I throw the ball.
It flies up, up, up, and far, far away.
I cannot see my red ball.

Here is an example where the reader is led through Ben’s emotions over Aggie in Chapter 2 “The Awful Night”.

I look out the window.
“Where are you, Aggie?” I whisper.
I see a wishing star. I wish hard.
“I wish Aggie was not lost!”

I feel sadder.
I think.
What if Aggie is not lost?
What if she ran away?
What if Aggie was not happy?

I loved this chapter where you see Ben go from being sad that Aggie is lost, to wondering if maybe Aggie ran away, to being annoyed over Aggie’s habits, and finally remembering the good times.

The layout of the book is well suited for beginning readers. Almost every sentence is on its own line. Sentence length is between five to ten words. The illustrations are simple with clean lines and vary from a couple of small pictures on a page up to two-page spreads.

The author does a a great job of bringing Ben to life, making it really easy for this reader to become emotionally engaged from the beginning (remember I am not even a pet person). The wonderful illustrations and writing style had me treasuring every page. Check out the previous books in the series, I especially liked the first book Aggie and Ben: Three Stories.

Recommendation: Add to Home Library

Author: Lori Reis
Illustrator: Frank W. Dormer

Aggie Gets Lost

NOTE: This book was nominated by Jeff Barger for the 2011 Cybils Awards in the Easy Reader/Early Chapter Book category. I am a first-round panelist in this category, but this review reflects my opinions only, not those of any other panelist, or the panel as a whole. Thanks!

November 5, 2011

See Me Run

“See me run. I run and run.”

“See them come. They come and come.”

This simple, easy-to-read book takes beginning readers on a dog chase, a mud bath, a relaxing swim in the stream, and even on a good old-fashioned dig. What the dogs find during their dig have them running again as fast as they can.

I recommend this book for beginning readers with its short, easy words. The illustrations are cheery and complement the text.

Received 2012 Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor Award

Author & Illustrator: Paul Meisel

See Me Run

NOTE: This book was nominated by Deb Nance for the 2011 Cybils Awards in the Easy Reader/Early Chapter Book category. I am a first-round panelist in this category, but this review reflects my opinions only, not those of any other panelist, or the panel as a whole. Thanks!

October 16, 2011

Butterflies

This book gives the young reader a basic introduction to butterflies through gorgeous, vibrant pictures that are complemented with simple-to-read text. The first half of the book starts at the birth of a caterpillar through its journey in becoming a butterfly. The remaining pages discuss how butterflies see, taste, smell, and eat.  At the end, there is a photo index which lists all photos in the book and their caterpillar and butterfly species’ names.

The author has thrown in some interesting tidbits that will surprise any child and maybe even the parent. Did you know there are butterflies with see through wings!

My five-year old who has recently started to drift away from books (hopefully, only temporary) did enjoy this book very much. I think it served as a nice change from the fiction books we had been reading. Also this book gave her the opportunity to learn new facts. My three-year old on the other hand wanted to know why there were no pink butterflies. This book left me yearning for a longer book with more information and vibrant pictures of butterflies. Luckily, there is another book by this author called Butterflies and Moths which I do plan to check out from the library.

If you want to see hundreds of monarch butterflies and happen to be in the Monterey Bay Area in Northern California,  I highly recommend visiting the Monarch Grove Sanctuary in Pacific Grove. The best time to see the butterflies is between October and March, and preferably when the temperature is above 55 degrees. Below that temperature they just sit on the branches with their wings folded, looking like dead leaves.

Grab this book and learn something new with your child.

Author/Photographer: Nic Bishop

Butterflies

NOTE: This book was nominated by Mary Ann Scheuer for the 2011 Cybils Awards in the Easy Reader/Early Chapter Book category. I am a first-round panelist in this category, but this review reflects my opinions only, not those of any other panelist, or the panel as a whole. Thanks!

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May 10, 2011

Shark in the Park

Pup wakes Fat Cat.

She meows, “Why did you bark?”

“There’s a shark in the park!” Pup barks.

A cute little pup runs around the park warning his friends about the shark in the park. The story is short and entertaining with a surprise ending, that still makes my girls giggle.

This book is one of twelve books in the Usborne Phonics Readers Series. Each book focuses on a different sets of phonemes. (see post on “Phonemic Awareness“). I would recommend these books to kids that have already learned both short and long vowels, and constant blends and are looking to practice reading. These books may be a bit challenging for kids just starting to learn, due to the blends and irregular words.

Of the twelve books in the series, this book was our favorite. Some others we liked were ‘Frog On a Log‘ and ‘Toad Makes a Road‘.

Author: Phil Roxbee
Illustrator: Stephen Cartwright

Shark in the Park

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