Review: Wild Kratts Wild Animal Babies!

The Basics

Title: Wild Kratts Wild Animal Babies!
Author: Martin and Chris Kratt
ISBN: 9781101931721
Copyright Date: 2016
Publisher: Random House
Reader Brand: Step Into Reading
Level: Level 2
Series: Wild Kratts (Wild Predators, Wild Reptiles, Wild Sea Creatures)


Martin and Chris investigate wild animal babies from all different species and habitats.

I started reading this book with minimal knowledge of Wild Kratts. I knew that Wild Kratts was a series on PBS, that the DVDs are very popular, and that the non-fiction titles of books were often too hard for my library’s interested audience. (I highly recommend the Wikia entry on Wild Kratts if you need to learn some terms.)

At first I was put off because all of the animals are illustrated and are not photographed. I watched a bit of an episode online and found out that the brothers suit up to be in the animal’s natural habitats. After watching, I re-evaluated my initial thoughts and realized that this was done to appeal to fans.

I liked the variety of animals presented and I felt like the facts given were easy for beginning readers to understand. Technical terms are explained in kid-friendly language: “Howling helps a wolf pack talk to each other and stay together.” I even learned a new facts about spider monkeys which was the hardest passage for a beginning reader to read.

Great for libraries who are looking to build more non-fiction titles in beginning readers as well as those that have animal fans or Wild Kratts fans.

Review: The Little Butterfly

The Basics

Title: The Little Butterfly
Author: Sherry Shahan
ISBN: 9780375971891
Copyright Date: 1998 (text), 2015
Publisher: Random House
Reader Brand: Step Into Reading
Level: Level 2
Series: N/A


This book chronicles the life-cycle of a Monarch butterfly supported by photographs as illustrations.

Originally published as a picture book in 1998, this was recently re-released as a beginning reader in 2015. The photographs give great context clues as to what’s going on and most of the text is appropriate for a beginning reader. Harder words (like aphids and chrysalis) are given phonetic pronunciation guides within the text. Some words may prove to be a challenge to some readers (slurp, molting, sac) but this is a great opportunity for new vocabulary.

This book could be shelved in non-fiction or in beginning reader. I know many libraries in my area shelve both the reader and the picture in non-fiction. But I think it’s definitely possible to integrate these non-fiction readers into the mainstream collection.

Review: Little Lucy

The Basics

Title: Little Lucy
Author: Ilene Cooper
ISBN: 9781448764334
Copyright Date: 2011
Publisher: Random House
Reader Brand: Step Into Reading
Level: Step 3 Reading On Your Own
Series: Little Lucy (Little Lucy Goes to School)


Lucy and her family go for a visit to the lake one day. But when Lucy’s family ties her leash to a tree, they never imagine that she would break free and have an adventure on her own. Can Lucy find her way back to her family?

This is a much longer reader and I really like the description that they use on the book: “Reading On Your Own, Grades 1-3. Is your child comfortable tackling new words? Does your child like to read on his or her own? It’s time for Step 3.” That’s a great help to both parents and librarians to judge whether or not the book is appropriate for a specific reader.

Lucy is a sweet character who can get into some mischief! Being a dog lover myself, I found it easy to sink into Lucy’s story and I look forward to reading more Lucy readers.

Recommended for libraries who need higher-level readers or libraries with lots of dog lovers!

Review: Drop It, Rocket

The Basics

Title: Drop It, Rocket
Author: Tad Hills
ISBN: 9780385372473
Copyright Date: 2014
Publisher: Schwartz & Wade Books, Penguin Random House
Reader Brand: Step Into Reading
Level: Level 1 Ready to Read
Series: Rocket (Rocket’s 100th Day of School)


Rocket is learning new words to add to his word tree, but what happens when he doesn’t want to drop the red boot?

There are two repeating sections in this book that make it a good beginning reader. An excerpt of the first repetitive section:

Rocket finds a leaf. “Drop it, Rocket,” says the bird. Rocket drops the leaf. He is a good dog.”

And continues with other objects. The second repetitive section is as such:

“Will you drop it for a stick?” asks Emma. Rocket will not drop it.

These repetitive sections are great for building a reader’s confidence since the sentences are repeated with only slight variations. The sentence length is good for the most part, but a few sentence top over 10 words, which might make for some difficulty in reading. There aren’t too many compound words, mostly names like Emma and Rocket. The layout and font size work well for beginning readers, with more than enough support from the illustrations to give context clues.

Rocket is a great character who loves books. This beginning reader series is a natural extension of what began in How Rocket Learned to Read and it’s great for readers to learn along with Rocket.

I’m not sure how many readers will naturally find Rocket beginning readers on their own though since the original Rocket picture books are too long to work in most preschool storytimes. But that’s why it’s the librarian’s job to get these Rocket readers into kids’ hands. And then to give them the picture books when they want more and more, which is what I think will happen!