A success on two levels that’s worthy of repeat readings.

READ REVIEW

KECKO THE GECKO

From the We Both Read series

A story about a boy and his gecko helps beginning readers develop confidence and fluency.

Relatively complex text on the left-hand page paired with two lines of simpler text in a larger font on the right-hand page invites shared reading between caregiver and learner (as explained in a foreword). Challenging words highlighted in bold on the left are used again on the right, reinforcing the concept and encouraging success. The text reads smoothly whether children are reading just the right-hand page or hearing and reading the entire story. Plot is not sacrificed to this instructional format. When Matt, a brown-skinned boy with straight black hair, sneaks his new pet into school, his classmates, a diverse group, display a range of reactions to the predictable chaos that ensues while at the same time supporting their friend in his secret. Kim at first holds Kecko and manages to keep from shrieking when his tail breaks off in her hand. (Matt explains gecko physiology to reassure her.) A boy’s response to a gecko on the wall is simply “cool.” These somewhat stereotypical responses are balanced by all the children’s efforts to keep their teacher, a light-skinned woman, from discovering the escapee. Tension builds when Kecko lands in Mrs. Jackson’s hair and then when she just barely avoids sitting on him. When she finely learns the cause of the uproar, she turns the surprise visitor into a teaching opportunity.

A success on two levels that’s worthy of repeat readings. (Early reader. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-60115-304-3

Page Count: 44

Publisher: Treasure Bay

Review Posted Online: March 27, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2018

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An engaging mix of gentle behavior modeling and inventive story ideas that may well provide just the push needed to get some...

RALPH TELLS A STORY

With a little help from his audience, a young storyteller gets over a solid case of writer’s block in this engaging debut.

Despite the (sometimes creatively spelled) examples produced by all his classmates and the teacher’s assertion that “Stories are everywhere!” Ralph can’t get past putting his name at the top of his paper. One day, lying under the desk in despair, he remembers finding an inchworm in the park. That’s all he has, though, until his classmates’ questions—“Did it feel squishy?” “Did your mom let you keep it?” “Did you name it?”—open the floodgates for a rousing yarn featuring an interloping toddler, a broad comic turn and a dramatic rescue. Hanlon illustrates the episode with childlike scenes done in transparent colors, featuring friendly-looking children with big smiles and widely spaced button eyes. The narrative text is printed in standard type, but the children’s dialogue is rendered in hand-lettered printing within speech balloons. The episode is enhanced with a page of elementary writing tips and the tantalizing titles of his many subsequent stories (“When I Ate Too Much Spaghetti,” “The Scariest Hamster,” “When the Librarian Yelled Really Loud at Me,” etc.) on the back endpapers.

An engaging mix of gentle behavior modeling and inventive story ideas that may well provide just the push needed to get some budding young writers off and running. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2012

ISBN: 978-0761461807

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Amazon Children's Publishing

Review Posted Online: Aug. 22, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2012

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Teachers will certainly find themselves wishing for their own arsenal of supplies to help them with their grading, and...

THE LITTLE RED PEN

Obviously inspired by "The Little Red Hen," this goes beyond the foundation tale's basic moral about work ethic to explore problem solving, teamwork and doing one’s best.

Nighttime at school brings the Little Red Pen out of the drawer to correct papers, usually aided by other common school supplies. But not this time. Too afraid of being broken, worn out, dull, lost or, worst of all, put in the “Pit of No Return” (aka trash), they hide in the drawer despite the Little Red Pen’s insistence that the world will end if the papers do not get corrected. But even with her drive she cannot do it all herself—her efforts send her to the Pit. It takes the ingenuity and cooperation of every desk supply to accomplish her rescue and to get all the papers graded, thereby saving the world. The authors work in lots of clever wordplay that will appeal to adult readers, as will the spicy character of Chincheta, the Mexican pushpin. Stevens’ delightfully expressive desk supplies were created with paint, ink and plenty of real school supplies. Without a doubt, she has captured their true personalities: the buck-toothed stapler, bespectacled scissors and rather empty-headed eraser.

Teachers will certainly find themselves wishing for their own arsenal of supplies to help them with their grading, and students may take a second glance at that innocuous-looking red pen on the teacher’s desk. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: April 18, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-15-206432-7

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: April 6, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2011

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