A useful instructional addition for beginning readers who need to experience success.

READ REVIEW

I SEE AND SEE

From the I Like To Read series

The latest entry in the I Like to Read series involves very little reading.

With just eight words repeated again and again, one short sentence per spread, and only 24 pages, success is almost guaranteed for struggling readers. The word “see” appears 12 times and without competition from other words that start with “s.” The picture-book trim size, as opposed to the standard early-reader format, is also nicely nonthreatening. The problem is that struggling readers are often smart enough to know that this isn't a real story. There is no plot. What the boy sees seems arbitrary and disconnected—a dog, three different trucks, flowers, an arborist (“a man” in a tree with a saw), a butterfly, a bird, a merry-go-round. There is no sense of neighborhood or place. Most reluctant new readers will know that the trucks are particular types—bulldozers, a cement truck, a street sweeper—but they are not challenged with this specific vocabulary. Lewin's charming pencil-and-watercolor illustrations and the winsome African-American boy who draws what he has seen at the end of the book rescue it from mediocrity. Teachers will want to point out that the drawings were made by the child who served as Lewin's model before assigning the inevitable task to “make a book about what you see.”

A useful instructional addition for beginning readers who need to experience success. (Picture book/early reader. 3-6)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-8234-3544-9

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Nov. 17, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2015

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Pair this with Leo Timmers’ Who Is Driving? (2007) for twice the guessing fun.

CLOTHESLINE CLUES TO JOBS PEOPLE DO

From the Clothesline Clues series

Heling and Hembrook’s clever conceit challenges children to analyze a small town’s clotheslines to guess the job each of their owners does. 

Close-up on the clothesline: “Uniform and cap, / an invite for you. / Big bag of letters. / What job does she do?” A turn of the page reveals a macro view of the home, van and the woman doing her job, “She is a mail carrier.” Indeed, she can be spotted throughout the book delivering invitations to all the rest of the characters, who gather at the end for a “Launch Party.” The verses’ rhymes are spot-on, though the rhythm falters a couple of times. The authors nicely mix up the gender stereotypes often associated with several of these occupations, making the carpenter, firefighter and astronaut women. But while Davies keeps uniforms and props pretty neutral (he even avoids U.S. mail symbols), he keeps to the stereotypes that allow young readers to easily identify occupations—the farmer chews on a stalk of wheat; the beret-wearing artist sports a curly mustache. A subdued palette and plain white backgrounds keep kids’ focus on the clothing clues. Still, there are plenty of details to absorb—the cat with arched back that anticipates a spray of water, the firefighter who “lights” the rocket.

Pair this with Leo Timmers’ Who Is Driving? (2007) for twice the guessing fun. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: July 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-58089-251-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: May 16, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2012

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THE GRUFFALO

The action of this rhymed and humorous tale centers upon a mouse who "took a stroll/through the deep dark wood./A fox saw the mouse/and the mouse looked good." The mouse escapes being eaten by telling the fox that he is on his way to meet his friend the gruffalo (a monster of his imagination), whose favorite food is roasted fox. The fox beats a hasty retreat. Similar escapes are in store for an owl and a snake; both hightail it when they learn the particulars: tusks, claws, terrible jaws, eyes orange, tongue black, purple prickles on its back. When the gruffalo suddenly materializes out of the mouse's head and into the forest, the mouse has to think quick, declaring himself inedible as the "scariest creature in the deep dark wood," and inviting the gruffalo to follow him to witness the effect he has on the other creatures. When the gruffalo hears that the mouse's favorite food is gruffalo crumble, he runs away. It's a fairly innocuous tale, with twists that aren't sharp enough and treachery that has no punch. Scheffler's funny scenes prevent the suspense from culminating; all his creatures, predator and prey, are downright lovable. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: June 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-8037-2386-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1999

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