Review: Let’s Go Fishing & Let’s Have a Parade

The Basics

lanasworld
Title: Let’s Go Fishing! & Let’s Have a Parade!
Author: Erica Silverman
ISBN: 9780544106529 & 9780544106772
Copyright Date: 2015
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Reader Brand: Green Light Readers
Level: Level 2
Series: Lana’s World (Let’s Go Fishing!, Let’s Have a Parade!)

Thoughts

Lana wants to do something exciting, but her family isn’t quite ready to join in on the fun. But with a little imagination from Lana, soon everybody is up and moving along with Lana!

Both of the books follow a formulaic story — Lana wants to go fishing but her family is too busy doing their own things; Lana wants to have a parade but it’s raining and her family doesn’t want to get wet. Formulaic stories in a lot of fiction is frustrating, but not for a beginning reader! The repetitiveness of the story will only help beginning readers to recognize words and build their confidence.

The illustrations of Lana and her family are done in watercolors. There no concrete information about what race Lana’s family is and I think that a variety of kids could see themselves in Lana’s family. (I had hoped from the cover that Lana might be a Latina and while she does have a darker skin tone and dark hair, I can’t say for certain that Lana is Latina.) Judge for yourself in the book trailer!

As with all Green Light Readers, the Guided Reading level, Reading Recovery level, Interest level are printed on the back on the books. Overall, I think these are good readers to add to a collection and would recommend for purchase.

Review: What This Story Needs is a Pig in a Wig

The Basics

whatthisstoryneedsisapiginawig
Title: What This Story Needs in a Pig in a Wig
Author: Emma J. Virj√°n
ISBN: 9780062327246
Copyright Date: 2015
Publisher: HarperCollins
Reader Brand: N/A
Level: N/A
Series: Pig in a Wig (upcoming What This Story Needs is a Hush and a Shush & What This Story Needs in a Munch and a Crunch)

Thoughts

Pig in a wig needs a boat on a moat…but what she didn’t count on was a frog, dog, or log joining her. Her problems get worse as more animals and more items show up on her boat. What’s a pig to do?

Let me just say how much I absolutely adore this new reader. I was so enamored with it that I made three co-workers read it that day with me so that they could appreciate it. It has simplistic words that are supported by bold graphic illustrations. The amount of text on each page is exactly right for a beginning reader and the phonetics are wonderful.

I am so excited about the upcoming sequels (!!!) that I’m counting the days until January 26th and May 10th.

Add this one to every library collection!

Review: Clara and Clem Take a Ride

The Basics

claraandclemtakearide
Title: Clara and Clem Take a Ride
Author: Ethan Long
ISBN: 9780448462714
Copyright Date: 2012
Publisher: Penguin
Reader Brand: Penguin Young Readers
Level: Level 1
Series: Clara and Clem (Clara and Clem in Outer Space, Clara and Cleam Under the Sea)

Thoughts

Clara and Clem go on a ride through a variety of situation: up a mountain, in a tree, in the forest, etc. When they hit a pile of rocks, they decide their trip is done and it’s time to build something new with their blocks.

I just discovered this older series while going through the beginning readers at my library. It’s fabulous and imaginative! All of the books involve Clara and Clem building something to play with out of their blocks. I love seeing both brother and sister building with their blocks — great STEM series for beginning readers. These are similar to Elephant and Piggie in that they are told through dialogue only and the series also uses speech bubbles with different colors for Clara and Cleam.

Definitely buy these for your library and recommend them to very early beginning reader readers!

Review: The Lost Kitten

The Basics

thelostkitten
Title: The Lost Kitten
Author: Katherine Cox
ISBN: 9781480677517
Copyright Date: 2015
Publisher: Scholastic
Reader Brand: N/A
Level: Level 2
Series: Katie Fry, Private Eye (upcoming: The Missing Fox)

Thoughts

Katie Fry has solved all the mysteries in her house and is looking for her new task. When she opens a booth to solve mysteries, a lost kitten is in the park. Can Katie help the kitten — Sherlock — find his home?

I am so pleased with this new series! Katie is such a dynamic character. My favorite line in the book was Katie’s introduction: “This is Katie. Katie is little, but has a big brain.” (I’m trying not to be biased that I am also a Katie and also little at only 5’3″.)

The illustrations by Vanessa Brantley-Newton pop off the page and really give the series life. I feel that the text is the text of an upper-level reader with multiple chapters and harder vocabulary. But the text is well-supported by illustrations for those working up.

My only issue is that the text is smaller than most beginning readers and is almost italicized. I wish the publishers had kept the text more simplistic which is easier for beginning readers.

Give this series to fans of mysteries and readers looking for a little girl power.

Review: Frances Dances

The Basics

francesdances
Title: Frances Dances
Author: Mark Iacolina
ISBN: 9780448479309
Copyright Date: 2015
Publisher: Penguin
Reader Brand: Penguin Young Readers
Level: Level 2
Series: N/A

Thoughts

Frances loves to dance…that is until her class is going to put on a performance in front of everyone. Can Frances overcome her stage fright with the help of her family?

This is a sweet story about a little girl’s stage fright. I like that her family supports her and shows her that they don’t mind other people seeing them dance so she shouldn’t. And I’m very drawn personally to the stick-figure-esque drawings. The stick-figures make it instantly kid-friendly and approachable. While this is a good beginning reader, I think there’s also a lot to infer here. Kids have to be able to realize that Frances doesn’t want people to see her dance from these simple sentences: “But she does not dance out the door. And she never dances at school.” I’m not sure that the earliest beginning readers will be able to get that on their own. Hopefully, parents will be close by to help.

Recommended for most libraries, particularly if you have a large dance fan population.

Review: 3, 2, 1, Go!

The Basics

321go
Title: 3, 2, 1, Go!
Author: Emily Arnold McCully
ISBN: 9780823432882
Copyright Date: 2015
Publisher: Holiday House
Reader Brand: I Like to Read
Level: N/A
Series:

Thoughts

Ann and Bess are playing school. Little Min wants to join in on the fun. When the big girls exclude her, Min develops a plan to meet them without crossing the line they have drawn.

A great example of a simple beginning reader that’s really well done. The text is fully supported by the illustrations, the story is clear for a young child to understand, and the vocabulary only has a few multiple syllable words. Bonus points for this book showing girls doing STEM activities instead of choosing to make the story about a little boy engineer.

Definitely recommended for most public libraries. Great for those looking to increase STEM offering featuring girls and for those looking for very early beginning readers (level 1).

Review: The Tiny Seed

The Basics

thetinyseed
Title: The Tiny Seed
Author: Eric Carle
ISBN: 9781481435765
Copyright Date: 1987 (text), 2015
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Reader Brand: Ready to Read
Level: Level 2
Series: The World of Eric Carle

Thoughts

A tiny seed travels through the four seasons trying to grow into a plant. But animals want to eat him, another plant blocks him from the sun, and people can step on him or pick him — will he ever become a flower?

“The Tiny Seed” was originally published as a picture book in 1987. I was able to get a copy of both to compare as I read. The reader is trimmed down in length, but most notably possibly upsetting lines such as: “One seed falls into the water and drowns” was changed to “One seed falls into the water”. Additionally, the line “And the little plant dies” was also removed from the reader edition.

Overall, I think the large amount of text in the reader fills up too much of the page and there really isn’t enough white space to make this a successful beginning reader. It works much better as a picture book.

Review: Power Ponies to the Rescue!

The Basics

powerponiestotherescue
Title: Power Ponies to the Rescue!
Author: adapted by Magnolia Belle
ISBN: 9781480671959
Copyright Date: 2015
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Reader Brand: Passport to Reading
Level: Level 1
Series: My Little Pony (Heart and Hooves, Holly Jolly Harmony, Meet the Ponies of Ponyville, Meet the Princess of Friendship, Ponies Love Pets!, Ponyville Reading Adventures, We Like Spike!)

Thoughts

The ponies of Ponyville are zapped into Spike’s comic book. They must defeat the evil villain Mane-iac in order to return home. Luckily, the ponies all have superpowers…except Spike. Will they ever get home?

This is another media tie-in that’s based off a television episode. The plot and names will make sense to readers already familiar with the material. At the beginning of the book, readers are given four words to be on the look-out for. This is a great activity for kids who may be seeking a challenge in their reading but wanting familiar characters and stories.

As for the plot itself, it’s straightforward for the most part. At one point, I was unsure how the ponies were captured by Mane-iac because the previous page had just stated that she had stopped them, not capture them. (That being said, I was reading this while playing ball with two dogs so that might have been a me issue.)

I really enjoyed once the ponies were in the comic book that the beginning reader reflected that by switching to a comic book format with panels and graphic backgrounds.

My ultimate verdict is that libraries should purchase if they have My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fans in their libraries.

Review: Big Dog and Little Dog

The Basics

bigdogandlittledog
Title: Big Dog and Little Dog
Author: Dav Pilkey
ISBN: 9780544430709
Copyright Date: 1997 (Text), 2015
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Reader Brand: Green Light Readers
Level: Level 1
Series: Big Dog and Little Dog (Big Dog and Little Dog Going for a Walk, Big Dog and Little Dog Getting in Trouble (releases on 10/13/15), Big Dog and Little Dog Wearing Sweaters (releases on 10/13/15))

Thoughts

Big Dog and Little Dog are feeling hungry and tired — those are easy problems to fix. But what about when Big Dog starts to feel lonely? What will he do?

I love that these dogs are being reissued as readers. Originally released as picture books between 1997-2003, our library’s one remaining copy of “The Complete Adventures of Big Dog and Little Dog” is in sorry shape. This simple story and repetitive vocabulary have always been great choices for children learning to read and it makes sense to issue beginning reader editions. This release also includes supplemental material: matching game, dog facts, story sequencing, and noun/verb definitions.

As always, Green Light Readers makes it easy for parents to find books by providing information on the back of the book regarding level. This book is recommended for ages 4-6, grade K, guided reading level D, reading recovery level 5-6, and Lexile level 240L.

Highly recommended for libraries needing to build those low-level beginning readers, libraries who have large populations of dog-lovers, and libraries looking for a great beginning reader series.

[Bonus? My nephew LOVED when I read the book to him. He was enthralled and then immediately turned his head when I went to take this picture.]

Review: In! Over! And On! (The Farm)

The Basics

inoverandonthefarm
Title: In! Over! And On! (The Farm)
Author: Ethan Long
ISBN: 9780399169076
Copyright Date: 2015
Publisher: Penguin Young Readers
Reader Brand: N/A
Level: N/A
Series: N/A

Thoughts

Chicken, Cow, Goat, and Pig are learning all about prepositions in this humorous book similar to the 2013 Geisel Award Winner “Up, Tall, and High” by Ethan Long.

This book has an incredible ease about it. There are three stories that concentrate on each preposition one at a time. The flaps make for great fun and also help to explain the differences between in/out, etc. The illustrations are expressive and fun and I think that the book will get lots of laughs from kids.

While this book is shelved in picture books in my library because of its trim size, I’m considering buy a second one to keep in the reader section so that this title can be found by both audiences. Great for a read-aloud and great for beginning readers. Recommended.