Another successful addition to the I Like to Read series: “I see a winner!” (Early reader. 4-8)

I SEE A CAT

From the I Like To Read series

Ten words may be all it takes to convince some young children to try reading.

An expressive dog, locked inside on a sunny day, is increasingly frustrated by its confinement. Each sentence begins: “I see a….” “Cat,” “bird,” “fly,” “squirrel,” “mice,” “bee,” and so on complete the sentence on successive subsequent double-page spreads. Almost all the action takes place on the other side of a sliding-glass door. Only the fly is inside, buzzing annoyingly around the dog in four vignettes. When a brown-skinned child appears, the dog is clearly delighted. Freed at last, the dog immediately chases the squirrel up a tree. Despite its limited vocabulary, Meisel’s simple story is surprisingly satisfying. New readers will fill in the missing details from clues in the uncluttered illustrations, several spreads of which are completely wordless. For example, the child is first shown with a backpack—just returning home from school, perhaps? Even before the title page, a wordless frontmatter sequence begins the story. On the title page the dog’s eyes clearly signal displeasure at having to come inside. “Squirrel,” the hardest of the 10 words used, appears three times, providing practice while also making it clear that the squirrel is dog’s chief antagonist. The repeated sentence structure helps build confidence and fosters reading fluency.

Another successful addition to the I Like to Read series: “I see a winner!” (Early reader. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-8234-3680-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: June 5, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2017

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Chilling in the best ways.

CREEPY CRAYON!

From the Creepy Tales! series

When a young rabbit who’s struggling in school finds a helpful crayon, everything is suddenly perfect—until it isn’t.

Jasper is flunking everything except art and is desperate for help when he finds the crayon. “Purple. Pointy…perfect”—and alive. When Jasper watches TV instead of studying, he misspells every word on his spelling test, but the crayon seems to know the answers, and when he uses the crayon to write, he can spell them all. When he faces a math quiz after skipping his homework, the crayon aces it for him. Jasper is only a little creeped out until the crayon changes his art—the one area where Jasper excels—into something better. As guilt-ridden Jasper receives accolade after accolade for grades and work that aren’t his, the crayon becomes more and more possessive of Jasper’s attention and affection, and it is only when Jasper cannot take it anymore that he discovers just what he’s gotten himself into. Reynolds’ text might as well be a Rod Serling monologue for its perfectly paced foreboding and unsettling tension, both gentled by lightly ominous humor. Brown goes all in to match with a grayscale palette for everything but the purple crayon—a callback to black-and-white sci-fi thrillers as much as a visual cue for nascent horror readers. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Chilling in the best ways. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 23, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5344-6588-6

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 25, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2022

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Hee haw.

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THE WONKY DONKEY

The print version of a knee-slapping cumulative ditty.

In the song, Smith meets a donkey on the road. It is three-legged, and so a “wonky donkey” that, on further examination, has but one eye and so is a “winky wonky donkey” with a taste for country music and therefore a “honky-tonky winky wonky donkey,” and so on to a final characterization as a “spunky hanky-panky cranky stinky-dinky lanky honky-tonky winky wonky donkey.” A free musical recording (of this version, anyway—the author’s website hints at an adults-only version of the song) is available from the publisher and elsewhere online. Even though the book has no included soundtrack, the sly, high-spirited, eye patch–sporting donkey that grins, winks, farts, and clumps its way through the song on a prosthetic metal hoof in Cowley’s informal watercolors supplies comical visual flourishes for the silly wordplay. Look for ready guffaws from young audiences, whether read or sung, though those attuned to disability stereotypes may find themselves wincing instead or as well.

Hee haw. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: May 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-545-26124-1

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 29, 2018

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