One powerful verb, simply repeated, makes for an action-packed beginning reader.
The same winsome lad readers met in Bad Dog (2014) returns in another, even easier reader. The verb phrase “can jump” appears on every spread, while the subject—who is doing the jumping—changes. The repetitive text in a clear san serif type is always set on the left-hand side of each double-page spread, ensuring that new readers know exactly where to focus. McPhail’s pen-and-ink drawings tinted with watercolor against white backgrounds provide context clues. The blond, pale-skinned boy is quickly joined by a slightly darker-skinned girl with dark brown hair in an Afro. Familiar animals that jump are introduced first: a bug, a frog, a rabbit. The choice of animals grows increasingly fanciful: a kangaroo (with the two children riding in its pouch), a cow (jumping over the moon, of course), and a hippo. The next-to-last spread reprises all the jumpers and offers the straightforward text “We can jump.” The final spread, “You can jump,” shows the two children and the sneaker-clad feet of a third child jumping off the top corner of the page. The same pastoral and wordless farm scene opens and closes the book.
Don’t expect the newest readers to sit still for this one. They’ll want to jump right into reading. (Early reader. 4-8)