Book Reviews

Rock Star Books!

Duck! Rabbit!
By Amy Krouse Rosenthal
Illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld
Reading Seed Level: Emerging; Interest Level: K-3rd grade

In this charming and clever book, two unseen characters argue about whether the animal they see is a duck or a rabbit.  It is filled with wonderful humor and just enough tension so that even reluctant readers will be picking a side.  With simple illustrations and short (but funny!) sentences, Duck! Rabbit! is a great choice to keep younger kids focused and engaged in the story while introducing the idea that points of view can differ and still be right.

And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street
Written and illustrated by Dr. Seuss
Reading Seed Level: Early;  Interest Level: 3rd-6th grade

Dr. Seuss’ first book turns 75 years old this year! Nothing excites the imagination quite like Dr. Seuss, and Mulberry Street is no exception.

At the beginning of the book Marco’s father warns him to “Stop telling such outlandish tales.  Stop turning minnows into whales.”  Well, when all that Marco sees is a plain horse and wagon on his walk home from school on Mulberry Street he lets his imagination go wild.  He wants a story that no one can beat!  What used to be a horse becomes a zebra and the wagon becomes a gold and blue chariot!  The story races ever on until Marco has a whole parade marching down Mulberry Street!  Finally he has a story that no one can beat!

Marco is bursting at the seams he is so excited about his story, but when his father asks him what he saw on his way home and Marco simply says, “Nothing but a plain horse and wagon on Mulberry Street.”  Why didn’t Marco share his imaginative story with his father?  What do you think?

The manuscript for And to think that I Saw it on Mulberry Street was rejected by over 27 publishing houses before finally being published!  Can you imagine a world without Dr. Seuss books?  Thank goodness he persevered!

By Bobby Lynn Maslen
Illustrated by John R. Maslen
Reading Seed Level: Emerging;  Interest Level: K-3rd grade

BOB BOOKS are great for emerging readers. They are small enough for little hands to hold, short enough to allow a new reader to finish an entire book without frustration, and simple enough to let the new reader practice what they are learning. BOB BOOKS come in convenient boxes with eight or more books each. The beginning or end of the book gives either a preview or review of the sounds the student will be working on in the book. The text is always written on the bottom of the page. The font is simple and easy to read with sufficient space between words. Each book contains a simple story with words repeated many times to allow practice and success. The simple illustrations are useful clues that can help retain interest for students without distracting from the words on the page. Use these books to celebrate your student’s success of reading an entire book on their own.

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom
By Bill Martin, Jr. and John Archambault
Illustrated by Lois Ehlert
Reading Seed Level: Beginning;  Interest Level: K-3rd grade

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom is a bright and colorful book with a fun story about the adventurous alphabet. In order, all the lowercase letters decide to climb up a coconut tree. The letters are too heavy for the tree so it bends over and all the lowercase letters fall to the ground.

The beginning of the book allows a review of upper- and lower-case letters. Repetition and rhyme reinforce medial and ending sounds. There is plenty of white space to allow the reader to find the text. There are only a few sentences per page, so you can take some time to ask your student questions about what might happen and their own experiences causing mischief. Remind your student to use the simple pictures to help tell the tale.

The Snowy Day
Written and illustrated by Ezra Jack Keats
Reading Seed Level: Beginning; Interest Level: K-3rd grade

The Snowy Day is about what every child feels on a snowy day-the magic of the sparkling white snow, the possibilities of snowmen, snow angels, and snow balls, and finally having to come in at the end of the day to a warm house hoping the snow won’t melt before the next day.

In its simplicity The Snowy Day gave us the first African American child in an urban scene in a children’s picture book. Ezra Jack Keats was also a pioneer in how he approached illustrating his books. For The Snowy Day he used a mixture of collage, gouache, and multimedia art formats. This 1963 Caldecott winner turns 50 years old this year and is still actively sought out by people of all ages, proof of its timelessness.

The Bippolo Seed and Other Lost Stories
Written and illustrated by Dr. Seuss
Reading Seed Level: Early;3rd grade

Seven lost stories from Dr. Seuss! What a wonderful surprise to open up The Bippolo Seed and Other Lost Stories and read brand new Dr. Seuss stories-something I never thought would happen again. My thanks go out to Dr. Charles D. Cohen, Seussian scholar and author of The Seuss, the Whole Seuss, and Nothing But the Seuss: A Visual Biography of Theodor Seuss Geisel. There are seven “new” stories in the book, every one of them hunted down over a decade from old 1950’s Redbook issues. Dr. Cohen, a dentist by profession and a Seussian scholar by choice, tracked down these buried treasures.

The stories themselves are quite fun! They include:
The Bippolo Seed stars a duck and a cat that get too greedy.
The Rabbit, the Bear, and the Zinniga-Zanniga features a very clever rabbit indeed.
Gustav the Goldfish, about a goldfish who grows too big for his bowl, is the original story for Helen Palmer’s and P.D. Eastman’s A Fish Out of Water.
Tadd and Todd are twins, a common theme in Dr. Seuss books. One twin is happy about being identical, but the other is not. It provides a good lesson about being true to ourselves, even if that means being twins!
Steak for Supper is for you if you love Dr. Seuss’ wild characters and his many beasts.
The Strange Shirt Spot was the seed for a certain scene in The Cat in the Hat.
The Great Henry McBride illustrates the importance of dreaming and believing in yourself!

Always full of imagination and wit, what an amazing addition to the Dr. Seuss legacy these stories are. This will likely be the only posthumous work from Theodore Seuss Geisel, but don’t be sad. The man himself put it best, “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.”

The Very Hungry Caterpillarhungry caterpillar
Written and illustrated by Eric Carle
Reading Seed Level: Beginning; Interest Level: K-3rd grade

The Very Hungry Caterpillar is a very funny story about a caterpillar who loves to eat! From the minute he was born he was hungry!  He ate different fruits, but was still hungry, so he ate more and more until he got sick. He wove himself into a cocoon and came out as a beautiful butterfly with bright colorful wings.

If You Give a Mouse a Cookiegive a mouse a cookie
By Laura Numeroff
Illustrated by Felicia Bond
Reading Seed Level: Beginning; Interest Level: K-3rd grade

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie is a funny tale about a boy who meets a mouse that asks for a glass of milk. After giving him the milk, the mouse asks for a straw, then a mirror (so he doesn’t get a milk mustache), then some nail clippers to trim his hair, and so on until he finally asks for a cookie to go with his glass of milk. If your student enjoys this story, be sure to check out others like “When You Take a Mouse to School.”

Danny and the Dinosaurdanny and the dinosaur
Written and illustrated by Syd Hoff
Reading Seed Level: Beginning;  Interest Level: K-3rd grade

Danny and the Dinosaur is one of a few books about a boy named Danny who visits a museum and immediately goes to the dinosaur area. There he meets a dinosaur that is living, and they both agree to spend the day together. They go to the park, let children slide down the dinosaurs back, and more fun things. At the end of the day Danny’s dinosaur has to go back to the museum, but is hopeful that it will not be the last time they spend the day together.

Click, Clack, Moo: Cows that Typeclick clack moo
By Doreen Cronin
Illustrated by Betsy Lewin
Reading Seed Level: Early;  Interest Level: K-3rd grade

Farmer Brown has many animals on his farm. All day long he hears the normal sounds: the ducks quacking, the chickens clucking, but wait…what is that sound? It’s the cows in the barn! All day long Farmer Brown hears, “Click, Clack, Moo” when the cows use the typewriter. Farmer Brown’s problems really begin when the cows start to type to him with their demands. Other similar books include “Giggle, Giggle, Quack,” “Click, Clack, Quackity, Quack,” and more.

Hop on Pophop on pop
Written and illustrated by Dr. Seuss
Reading Seed Level: Emerging;  Interest Level: K-3rd grade

This classic Dr. Seuss book is one that everyone has read and enjoyed. It teaches kids phonics, spelling, and language through short stories with tons of fun characters, situations and rhyming.  This is a great book for a toddler beginning to read!

Green Eggs and Hamgreen eggs and ham
Written and illustrated by Dr. Seuss
Reading Seed Level: Beginning;  Interest Level: K-3rd grade

This well-known book by Dr. Seuss follows a man named Sam-I-Am who tries to get his friend to eat ham. He persists in asking him if he wants green eggs with his ham, which leads to a fun book of rhyming and colorful pictures. Spoiler alert, in the end, his friend realizes that he enjoys the green eggs and ham!

Knuffle Bunnyknuffle bunny
Written and illustrated by Mo Willems
Reading Seed Level: Beginning;Interest Level: K-3rd grade

This hilarious story follows a girl named Trixie, her father, and the stuffed animal Knuffle Bunny on a trip to the Laundromat. When Trixie realizes that Knuffle Bunny has been left behind, she spends the majority of the book trying to let dad know! Will Trixie find her beloved Knuffle Bunny when they return to the Laundromat? This is a great book for kids starting to read on their own.

Napping Housenapping house
By Audrey Wood
Illustrated by Don Wood
Reading Seed Level: Beginning; Interest Level: K-3rd grade

This is a great story about a grandma sleeping on her bed on a rainy afternoon. Then, a child comes and lays on top of grandma to nap. Then the snoozing dog comes to rest. Eventually, everyone is sleeping until a flea causes a chain of events that leads to a broken bed and an awake family!

Kitten’s First Full Moonkitten's first full moon
Written and illustrated by Kevin Henkes
Reading Seed Level: Beginning; Interest Level: K-3rd grade

Kitten sees a big bowl of milk in the night sky. She climbs the house and trees to try to reach the big bowl of milk. Kitten falls in a puddle of water and realizes what she thought was milk is the moon! But don’t worry, Kitten comes home to a big bowl of milk that she will get to drink right next to the big white moon.

Go, Dog. Go!go dog go
Written and illustrated by P.D Eastman
Reading Seed Level: Emerging;  Interest Level: K-3rd grade

This classic favorite is centered around dogs. Blue dogs, red dogs, big dogs, little dogs, and their daily activities. I’ll bet no one knew these dogs had such a busy life!

Fly Guy Booksfly guy series
Written and illustrated by Tedd Arnold
Reading Seed Level: Beginning;  Interest Level: K-3rd grade

This series of books is about a boy named Buzz and his pet fly named Fly Guy. Fly Guy has many adventures and overcomes various obstacles. With only one or two sentences per page and short chapters, these books are perfect for kids who are starting to read independently!

More Books!


Little Hoot
By Amy Krouse Rosenthal
Illustrated by Jen Corace
Reading Seed Level: Beginning;  Interest Level: K-3rd grade

Little Hoot is a happy little owl with one exception-he doesn’t want to stay up late! Mama and Papa owl know that to grow up to be a wise owl you have to stay up late, but don’t tell that to Little Hoot! He tries many different ways to get his parents to let him go to bed early. Finally a compromise is reached that makes both parents and Little Hoot happy.

Jen Corace’s clean, modern illustrations combined with Amy Krouse Rosenthal’s clever but simple story make this sweet book a must read! Anyone big or small who has ever had a hard time wanting to go to bed early will love this clever twist on an age old struggle!