Review: Biscuit Feeds the Pets

The Basics

biscuitfeedsthepets
Title: Biscuit Feeds the Pets
Author: Alyssa Satin Capucilli
ISBN: 9780062236975
Copyright Date: 2016
Publisher: HarperCollins
Reader Brand: I Can Read!
Level: My First Shared Reading
Series: Biscuit (Biscuit, Biscuit Finds a Friend, Bathtime for Biscuit, Biscuit’s New Trick, Biscuit Wants to Play, Biscuit’s Big Friend, Biscuit Goes to School, Biscuit Wins a Prize, Biscuit and the Baby, Biscuit Visits the Big City, Biscuit’s Day at the Farm, Biscuit and the Little Pup, Biscuit Takes a Walk, Biscuit Meets the Class Pet, Biscuit and the Lost Teddy Bear, Biscuit Plays Ball, Biscuit in the Garden, Biscuit Loves the Library, Biscuit Goes Camping) & Biscuit Phonics Fun and Biscuit More Phonics Fun

Thoughts

Biscuit goes to help Mrs. Gray feed the pets she owns. But when Biscuit help free some of the other animals, things get pretty crazy. Will Biscuit find a way to help?

Easy text with a large font on a white or light tan background will give beginning readers easy access to the words of the story. I noticed that this font was much bigger and bolder than the other ten or so beginning readers on my desk. That makes this a superb choice for those just starting to read. There are just a few two syllable words in this volume other than Biscuit’s name. And the two syllable words (kittens, puppies, water, going) are easy to decode with support from the illustrations.

This was — believe it or not — my first regular Biscuit book! I’ve been recommending the series to very beginning beginning readers for years and I finally decided to sit down and read one myself. I will continue to recommend this series to patrons in the library and look forward to reading more. That being said, there are a lot of volumes of Biscuit and unless you need more easy beginning readers or have die-hard Biscuit fans, this might be an additional purchase if you already have most of the other books.

Review: Amelia Bedelia By the Yard

The Basics

ameliabedeliabytheyard
Title: Amelia Bedelia By the Yard
Author: Herman Parish
ISBN: 9780062334282
Copyright Date: 2016
Publisher: HarperCollins
Reader Brand: I Can Read!
Level: Beginning Reading 1
Series: Amelia Bedelia

Thoughts

Amelia Bedelia’s mother loves garage sales. And when she stops by one, the whole family decides that they need to clean out the clutter in their own house. But will Amelia’s garage or yard actually get sold?

The text is mostly contained on white background, with a good size beginning reader font. Most of the words are either one or two syllables, though I counted about a dozen with three syllables. Every page has an illustration for text support, providing context clues to the reader. The illustrations are childlike and appropriate. While Amelia’s family appears to be white, there is some diversity in the other people that come to the garage sale.

As someone who grew up with classic Amelia Bedelia, I was hesitant when the new versions began releasing a few years back. Would the charm of Amelia Bedelia follow into these editions? I thought that it did. It’s a different kind of mix-ups, but one that today’s kids may relate to better. Especially when “garage sale” and “yard sale” do sound like you’re selling the area!

For libraries with a strong Amelia Bedelia crowd. May be an additional purchase if you already have some Amelias and do not have a core group of readers.

Review: Pete the Cat Scuba-Cat

The Basics

petethecatscubacat
Title: Pete the Cat Scuba-Cat
Author: James Dean
ISBN: 9780062303899
Copyright Date: 2016
Publisher: HarperCollins
Reader Brand: I Can Read!
Level: My First Shared Reading
Series: Pete the Cat (Pete’s Big Lunch, Play Ball!, Pete at the Beach, Too Cool for School, A Pet for Pete, Pete the Cat and the Bad Banana, Pete the Cat’s Train Trip, Scuba-Cat, Sir Pete the Brave (June 2016))

Thoughts

Pete the Cat is on the lookout for a seahorse in this underwater adventure. Pete keeps meeting new ocean friends, but can’t find the elusive seahorse. Will they ever meet?

I thought that this Pete the Cat reader was a solid addition to the series. I miss the magic of the first Pete the Cat picture books but I can’t deny that Pete’s flexibility and attitude is great for a beginning reader to adopt. And familiar friends are always a solid choice to start a reader transitioning from picture books.

This story is really an identification game for kids to name ocean animals as Pete swims past. The catch is that the seahorse is behind Pete the whole time and I think that kids will really respond to that. It’s almost like an “I Spy” game that Pete keeps losing but that kids will keep winning.

As Pete goes deeper into the ocean, I felt like the text got a bit hard to read against the deeper blues. Not a deal breaker by any means, but something to keep in mind. Other than that, the text length was appropriate and potentially new animal vocabulary was supported by the illustrations.

For Pete fans, cat fans, ocean fans, and early beginning readers.

Review: What This Story Needs is a Hush and a Shush

The Basics

whatthisstoryneedsisahushandashush
Title: What This Story Needs is a Hush and a Shush
Author: Emma J. Virján
ISBN: 9780062415288
Copyright Date: 2015
Publisher: HarperCollins
Reader Brand: N/A
Level: N/A
Series: Pig in a Wig (What This Story Needs is a Pig and a Wig)

Thoughts

Pig is getting ready for bed when all of a sudden, animals appear in her bedroom making their favorite noises. Pig cannot sleep with all of that noise! Now this story needs a hush and a shush.

Flat out, I love these books. I love this series. I’m so excited that What This Story Needs is a Crunch and Munch will be joining the books later on this summer.

I think beginning readers will love this book because of the animal noises. I always tell parents in storytime that animal noises are some of children’s first words because the sounds are easier to start with. Beginning readers will know what sounds the animals are supposed to say through context clues and previous knowledge.

And I am still in love with the bright illustrations and bold color choices. I am really drawn to the art and my patrons are too. I think that this book in particular would make an excellent flannelboard. (Thrive After Three made the original Pig in a Wig.) I hope that there will be many more to come!

Review: Biscuit Phonics Fun & Biscuit More Phonics Fun

The Basics

biscuitphonics
Title: Biscuit Phonics Fun & Biscuit More Phonics Fun
Author: Alyssa Satin Capucilli
ISBN: 9780061432040 & 9780062086532
Copyright Date: 2008
Publisher: HarperCollins
Reader Brand: I Can Read
Level: N/A
Series: Biscuit

Thoughts

Biscuit is a dog with lots and lots of friends to go on adventures with.

Each set of Biscuit Phonics focused on either short vowels (Phonics Fun) or long vowels (More Phonics Fun). Both sets have a total of twelve little books and one “Letter to Parents” resource guide. The twelve books consist of an introduction to Biscuit, two books on each vowel (a, e, i, o, u), and a review of short or long vowels depending on the set.

These books are hugely valuable for parents and teachers looking for guidance with beginning readers. I love the Letter to Parents because it addresses many concerns that parents have about their child starting to read. Both letters in the sets address learning about vowel sounds, sight words, picture clues, and has tips for parents to read with their child.

While the sets might be difficult to process for libraries, I think they are well worth the investment. Highly recommended.

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. Virján
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: Mittens

The Basics

mittens
Title: Mittens
Author: Lola M. Schaefer
ISBN: 9780060546595
Copyright Date: 2006
Publisher: HarperCollins
Reader Brand: I Can Read!
Level: My First Shared Reading
Series: (Mittens, Follow Me Mittens, What’s That Mittens?, Happy Halloween Mittens, Mittens Where’s Max, Mittens at School)

Thoughts

This book has a really simple storyline: Nick brings home a new kitten, but Mittens is scared in his new house. Can Mittens find a safe space?

I feel like this book series is the equivalent of Biscuit for cat lovers. I do really like that Mittens and Nick are boys though since this will increase readership for the series.

The text is large and easy to read. Sentences are short and there’s only one three syllable word: everything. This book is a great opportunity for shared reading between parent and child.

Recommended for public libraries who need low-level beginning readers.