A carefully formatted book with supportive features baked in brings new energy to the task of learning to read.

A DUCK AND A SOCK

From the Meg and Greg series

High-interest, low-reading-level stories present a fun way to reinforce phonics skills for readers who need a boost.

Best friends Meg and Greg face tricky situations and daring adventures in several entertaining tales. Dilemmas range from replacing a sibling’s missing fish to helping ranch animals escape from a wildfire; they will hold readers’ interest as they create opportunities to bolster phonics skills. Each of the four segments contains episodic chapters in prose paired with comics-style panels, cartoon illustrations, and speech bubbles that will foster engagement and support reading development. Labeled illustrations and end-of-segment extension activities provide additional opportunities for practice centered on the specific phonogram (“ck,” for instance, or “sh”) highlighted in that section. These stories are geared toward emerging readers who are a bit older than the typical beginning reader and are thoughtfully designed to appeal to this older audience with eye-catching graphics and more-complex situations. This is Book 1 in a series intended for children just learning to read or readers with dyslexia and other learning difficulties, to be shared alongside a more experienced reader. Short explanations and strategies for each new phonogram introduced as well as plenty of helpful tips for using the book to support learning are included. Dyslexia-friendly features are integrated into the book. All characters present as white in the illustrations.

A carefully formatted book with supportive features baked in brings new energy to the task of learning to read. (glossary, tips) (Graphic/fiction hybrid. 6-9)

Pub Date: April 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4598-2490-4

Page Count: 168

Publisher: Orca

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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Amusing, yes. Useful for reading practice, yes, but not necessarily guaranteed to make new readers the “read-i-est.” (Early...

WE ARE GROWING!

From the Elephant & Piggie Like Reading! series

Elephant and Piggie make an appearance to introduce the first in their new series, an egalitarian introduction to superlatives.

Each one of seven blades of talking grass—of a total of eight—discovers that it is superb at something: it’s tallest, curliest, silliest, and so forth. The humor aims to appeal to a broad spectrum. It is slightly disturbing that one being eaten by purple bugs is proud of being the crunchiest, but that will certainly appeal to a slice of the audience. The eighth blade of grass is grappling with a philosophical identity crisis; its name is Walt, a sly reference to Whitman's Leaves of Grass that will go right over the heads of beginning readers but may amuse astute parents or teachers. Tension builds with the approach of a lawn mower; the blades of grass lose their unique features when they are trimmed to equal heights. Mercifully, they are chopped off right above the eyes and can continue their silly banter. Departing from the image of a Whitman-esque free spirit, Walt now discovers he is the neatest. Lots of speech bubbles, repetition, and clear layout make this entry a useful addition to lessons on adjectives and superlatives while delivering a not-so-subtle message that everyone is good at something. Elephant and Piggie's final assertion that “this book is the FUNNIEST” doesn't necessarily make it so, however.

Amusing, yes. Useful for reading practice, yes, but not necessarily guaranteed to make new readers the “read-i-est.” (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 20, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4847-2635-8

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: June 22, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

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This high-wattage debut is a little rough around the edges, but there’s nary a dull moment.

CAT DAD, KING OF THE GOBLINS

A pair of sisters and a froggy sidekick go up against a horde of fungal jungle dwellers in this frantically paced Canadian import.

When Mom transforms Dad into a cat, 10-year-old Luey, her leggy green friend, Phil, and little sister Miri chase him through a closet door and down a jungle path into a maze of tunnels. They manage to rescue their errant parent from the maroon-colored, cat-worshiping goblins that had overrun the garden. (They are not the “mythological” sort, explains Wilson, but sentient mushrooms dressed in towels.) The three put most of their pursuers to flight by rubbing Dad’s fur the wrong way to turn him into a raving, furry maniac (the rest flee at the closet door, screaming “IT’S THE MOM CREATURE! RETREAT!!”). Captured in multiple, sometimes overly small panels of garishly colored cartoon art, the action—not to mention the internal logic—is sometimes hard to follow. Still, dragging along their timorous but canny buddy, the dark-skinned, big-haired sisters dash into danger with commendable vim, and readers will cheer when they come out triumphant on the other side.

This high-wattage debut is a little rough around the edges, but there’s nary a dull moment. (afterword) (Graphic fantasy. 7-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 9, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-927668-11-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Koyama Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 6, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2014

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