YOU READ TO ME, I’LL READ TO YOU

VERY SHORT STORIES TO READ TOGETHER

Playful rhymes celebrate the sheer joy of reading in this exuberant read-aloud collection. Designed for two readers, the poems are laid out with verses in place-specific positions and printed in a trio of colors to indicate the different voices; purple on the left, pink on the right, and the blue sections in the center indicating that the text should be read in unison. Hoberman (It’s Simple, Said Simon, 2001, etc.) draws upon such universally kid-pleasing themes as frolicking in the snow and frisky puppies, liberally infusing them with copious amounts of silliness. The result: rambunctious poems to tickle funny bones. Whatever the theme, each poem concludes with the rousing chorus, “You read to me. / I’ll read to you.” Hoberman’s verses draw the readers into a delightful verbal sparring match of dueling rhymes. The humorous bandying keeps the laughs coming while the actual vocabulary is manageable for fledgling readers. The poems run the gamut from a pair of dogs scolding a cat for chasing mice to the wonderfully insouciant poem, “Hop and Skip.” Emberley’s pen-and-watercolor illustrations capture the liveliness of the poems; small vignettes revel in the absurdities, beckoning readers to join in and relish the fun. In “The Two Mice,” Hoberman sums up the philosophy of the collection quite nicely. “Two readers reading / Make a game. / It’s twice as nice / When there are two.” And what fun this is for readers and listeners alike. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-316-36350-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Megan Tingley/Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2001

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IGGY PECK, ARCHITECT

A repressive teacher almost ruins second grade for a prodigy in this amusing, if overwritten, tale. Having shown a fascination with great buildings since constructing a model of the Leaning Tower of Pisa from used diapers at age two, Iggy sinks into boredom after Miss Greer announces, throwing an armload of histories and craft projects into the trash, that architecture will be a taboo subject in her class. Happily, she changes her views when the collapse of a footbridge leaves the picnicking class stranded on an island, whereupon Iggy enlists his mates to build a suspension bridge from string, rulers and fruit roll-ups. Familiar buildings and other structures, made with unusual materials or, on the closing pages, drawn on graph paper, decorate Roberts’s faintly retro cartoon illustrations. They add an audience-broadening element of sophistication—as would Beaty’s decision to cast the text into verse, if it did not result in such lines as “After twelve long days / that passed in a haze / of reading, writing and arithmetic, / Miss Greer took the class / to Blue River Pass / for a hike and an old-fashioned picnic.” Another John Lithgow she is not, nor is Iggy another Remarkable Farkle McBride (2000), but it’s always salutary to see young talent vindicated. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-8109-1106-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2007

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THE BEST CHEF IN SECOND GRADE

An impending school visit by a celebrity chef sends budding cook Ollie into a tailspin. He and his classmates are supposed to bring a favorite family food for show and tell, but his family doesn’t have a clear choice—besides, his little sister Rosy doesn’t like much of anything. What to do? As in their previous two visits to Room 75, Kenah builds suspense while keeping the tone light, and Carter adds both bright notes of color and familiar home and school settings in her cartoon illustrations. Eventually, Ollie winkles favorite ingredients out of his clan, which he combines into a mac-and-cheese casserole with a face on top that draws delighted praise from the class’s renowned guest. As Ollie seems to do his kitchen work without parental assistance, a cautionary tip or two (and maybe a recipe) might not have gone amiss here, but the episode’s mouthwatering climax and resolution will guarantee smiles of contentment all around. (Easy reader. 6-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-06-053561-2

Page Count: 48

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2007

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