R IS FOR ROCKET by Tad Hills


An ABC Book
by ; illustrated by
Age Range: 3 - 5
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Adorable Rocket the dog and his many pals (including a moonlighting Goose) return in a new story centered on the alphabet.

Each alphabetic scene illustrates action in a complete sentence or two that emphasizes alliteration. The key letter in each scenario is represented in boldface type, and many sentences include both upper- and lowercase examples. It begins: “Rocket finds acorns. Owl draws an angry alligator. / Bella balances on a ball while a big blue butterfly watches.” Some letter choices work better than others. Q is fairly successful: “It is quiet, and Owl is cozy under her quilt. She falls asleep quickly.” On the other hand, Hills defaults to the old chestnut for tricky X: “Bella plays the xylophone.” Overall, this is charming fun, and readers have come to know and love Hills’ oil-and–colored-pencil characters. While each individual scene is entertaining, however, and many incorporate multiple letters, there is no apparent unifying storyline that takes readers from A to Z. One tiny nit is that owls don’t sleep lying down, as depicted, but that doesn’t take away from the enjoyment. The back of the jacket cover is an attractive alphabet chart.

Though this lacks the originality and fizz of How Rocket Learned to Read (2010), it nevertheless reinforces the pup’s positive literacy efforts. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: July 7th, 2015
ISBN: 978-0-553-52228-0
Page count: 40pp
Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 2015


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