- Sluggly Slug (2000)
- Wormy Worm (2000)
- Goosey Goose (2000)
- Snaily Snail (2000)
- Whaley Whale (2000, 2014)
- Lamby Lamb (2000, 2014)
- Doggy Dog (2000, 2014)
- Moosey Moose (2000, 2014)
- Cowy Cow (2014)
- Crabby Crab (2014)
- Buggy Bug (2014)
- Clammy Clam (2014)
Publisher: Originally published by Hyperion (books went out-of-print in 2006); acquired by Abrams Appleseed for redistribution in 2014
Links: Publisher’s Weekly on Abrams Acquiring Thingy Things
Reviews: Horn Book (both original and revised editions)
So, let’s talk about why I consider these readers instead of picture books (the library world largely agrees with shelving these in picture books, according to my consortium).
The page spreads are ideal for the youngest of beginning readers; the illustration is on the left and the text is on the right. It’s rare to find a picture book that would not utilize both pages at least once in the book. The text is large and fairly easy to read. (It would be easiest on a white background though — point made.)
Words are introduced gradually. I’m thinking particularly of “Lamby Lamb” where Lamby Lamb is told not to put on his pants, shirt, coat, and hat on separate pages. The phrase “Don’t put on your ____” is repeated over and over again with one slight variation of “Don’t remember your umbrella” as the last page of Lamby Lamb getting dressed. While ‘remember’ and ‘umbrella’ are harder words for beginning readers, the illustrations give the context clue for umbrella.
I also think that the trim size of the book gets lost in picture books. I’ve worked at a library with spine-out shelving and and a library with face-out bin shelving. These books (also Peter Rabbit & the Mr. Men and Little Miss books) get hidden behind the more standard sized picture books. In readers though, this trim size is just perfect for kids to hold on their own.
Finally, these aren’t daunting in the least. They are easily worked through in one sitting, with or without an adult’s help depending on the reader. It’s why I think they are ideal beginning readers.
I already discussed a lot of what I would normally say in difficulty under the first section, so this one will mostly be hard statistics.
“Lamby Lamb” has 22 unique words and is only 24 pages long. The other books are similar: “Whaley Whale” has 17 unique words. “Crabby Crab” has 31 unique words and “Clammy Clam” has only six!
None of the books have been Lexiled, but three of them do have AR tests. The range of AR difficulty is between 0.7-1.1.
What resonates so much for me with these books are their spot-on child humor. Doggy Dog doesn’t know what he is — a cat or a lampshade? Whaley Whale is hiding in plain sight. Lamby Lamb falls victim to reverse psychology and gets ready. Sluggy Slug does not want to move and loves saying NO!
I’m so ridiculously glad that Abrams has brought these little gems back in-print. And I think a thousand more libraries need to order them so that we can get the last four re-printed and maybe even more at the article above mentions is a possibility.
Dates to Remember
None at the moment. I am hoping that Abrams will re-release the last four previously released titles. I’ll keep you posted if I hear word of it!
It’s so smart to put these in early readers! They’ve been sitting on the shelf for months over in picture books and I couldn’t figure out why. Obviously they weren’t being promoted to the right audience. Thank you for such a great idea!
I’ve been thinking about moving the Gossie series by Oliver Dunrea too. (Although those they started releasing in a reader format…)