JUST READ! by Lori Degman


Age Range: 4 - 7
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Apparently, there are many ways to read.

Degman’s first-person text opens with an exultant declaration—“HOORAY! I know how to read on my own!”—but an accompanying, vibrant illustration doesn’t indicate which of the seven diverse children in a book-filled room is the speaker. This question isn’t resolved as the narrative proceeds, “But sometimes I don’t want to do it alone. So… / I read with an astronaut, pirate, or farmer. I read with a clown or a knight wearing armor.” It’s rather confusing that the depicted reading children are reading alone while imagining the astronaut, pirate, farmer, clown, and knight floating above them. Tentler-Krylov’s splashy, stylish, bright watercolors show children reading different sorts of texts in various contexts—road signs, maps, magazines, sheet music, and Braille books. The spread depicting Braille reads, “I read with my fingers across bumpy lines”; across the gutter one child signs to another: “I read with my voice or my hands using signs.” This last line seems a bit off as it positions oral and signed language as texts to be read, but the aim is clearly inclusive. The book culminates in an idyllic scene of children reading in a tree that begs to become a literacy campaign poster. As with many books about reading, it’s not much of a story, but it does mean well.

A read that affirms reading. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 5th, 2019
ISBN: 978-1-4549-2572-9
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Sterling
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15th, 2019


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