Review: Gideon

The Basics

Title: Gideon
Author: Olivier Dunrea
ISBN: 9780544430587
Copyright Date: 2015
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Reader Brand: Green Light Readers
Level: Level 1 Start the Engine! Getting Ready to Read
Series: Gossie & Friends (BooBoo, Gideon & Otto, Gossie, Gossie & Gertie, Ollie, Ollie the Stomper, Peedie)


Gideon does not want to take a nap and he’d rather keep playing. Will his mother ever see him settle down?

I was not familiar with Olivier Dunrea’s Gossie & Friends series until I arrived at my new library where we have multiple copies of each title. Many of them work well as beginning readers: Peedie, Ollie the Stomper, and Gossie & Gertie. (These three were the only ones available at my library at the time of this review.)

While I really enjoy this predictable series that’s perfect for read-alouds, I did not think that Gideon made a particularly good reader. Words like ruddy, sneaks, scurries, scampers, and ewe seemed too hard for a true “Level 1” reader. I also thought that the hyphenated phrases like “chase-the-piglet”, “finds-the-eggs”, and “tags-the-mole” might confuse beginning readers who will likely try to read that as one word.”

And while the storyline works well as a small picture book (very easy for toddlers to relate), Gideon trying to avoid his nap may not resonate as well with the kindergarten/1st grade crowd.

I do, however, really love Green Light Readers. They have a recommended age (4-6), grade (1st), guided reading level (E), reading recovery age/level (7-8), and a Lexile level (260L) on the back on their books. This makes a librarian’s job easy to help parents find exactly the right level book for a reader.

Recommended for purchase if you have a devoted following to the series. Other libraries may want to pass on this one.

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