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Easy Reader Review: Dog on Bus

Dog on His Bus

Title: Dog on Bus by Eric Seltzer
Penguin Young Readers,
Level 2: Progressing Reader
Guided Level F
Genre: Animals, Transportation, Daily Errands
Dog, the bus driver, goes around town picking up a few of his friends. Cute illustrations, a variety of animals and a simple rhyming text make this book very appealing for preschoolers. We’ve been reading it to my toddler for nearly two weeks as a bedtime book. Beginning readers will appreciate the structured rhyme, giving them the ability to sound out and learn new words. I like the story and the illustrations. There is so much to look at on each page.
I am Dog.
I drive a bus.
I pick up Frog.
Come ride with us.
I drive in rain.
I drive in snow.
I drive in Fog.
Off we go.
The sentences are very short, 3 or 4 words. The font is relatively large, but not as much as earlier chapter books. There is a story, from start to finish. I like the different errands the riders go on. Hat shopping, browsing books, going out for lunch, etc. There are a lot of picture and context clues to help navigate the story. The story, I think, will be a bit too simple for older kids. But I think kids in Kindergarten and younger will really enjoy this book. The book reminds me of Byron Barton’s My Bus. Although My Bus doesn’t have the rhymes, the sentences are likewise short and simple, and the plot is fairly similar. The only difference with My Bus, is that its more of a math-orientated book.
PS – Suggested Reading
Hello, School Bus! My Bus Wheels on the Bus .
© 2015 by Nari of Ready, Set, Read. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @TheNovelWorld
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Easy Reader Review: Best Friends

Best Friends

Title: Best Friends by Anna Michaels
Green Light Readers, 1997
Level 1: Buckle Up! Getting Ready to Read
Genre: Friendship

Zack and Dan are best friends who share a few experiences in this short collection of stories. They pick apples for a snack and play a guessing game.

Green Light Readers are quickly becoming one of my favorite easy reader publishers. Although the books tend to be much older than the publications, they are just as relevant and somewhat better in many ways. Although the text is simple and repetitive, there is a lot of diversity with the vocabulary throughout the book. What I really enjoy is the series of reading comprehension questions at the end of the each chapter. Parents and teachers can ask their children these open-ended questions to reinforce and expand on what the child read and learned from the story. There are also a few activities related to the stories at the end of the book. I like interactive books like this because there is so much more to the book than a single-use read. The book can be referred to multiple times.

Pick this.
Pick that.
One in my cap.
Two in your hat.

The two activities in the back are very simple and can be done with regular household craft supplies. Making a small book and drawing a mural of a favorite activity. I also appreciate the diversity of the two boys in this book, and their wonder and amusement at such simple activities as snacking on apples from an apple tree and looking for a snail in the garden. These are the little things that preschoolers and kindergarteners find so much joy in and I like to see books that reflect that same level of contentedness in the books.

© 2015 by Nari of Ready, Set, Read. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @TheNovelWorld

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Easy Reader Review: Muddy, Mud, Bud by Patricia Lakin

Muddy, Mud, BudMuddy, Mud, Bud by Patricia Lakin
Penguin Young Readers, 2014
Level 1: Emergent Reader
Ages: PreK to 2nd Grade
Genre: cars, mud, cleanliness

Bud is muddy. He loves to roll around and play in the mud. One day, he decides that he must have more mud and comes across a strange looking building. Believing it must have more mud, Bud goes through the doors and soon spick-and-span clean as he goes through the car-wash! Can he find a way to be muddy again?

I found this book to be an incredibly cute story. One that young kids who like to get messy will greatly appreciate. As a level 1 book, the text is repetitive, but not dull. The illustrations are vibrant, and the expressions on Bud’s face are priceless. His determination at wanting more mud and his surprise at coming out clean got an audible chuckle out of me. There are so many scientific activities that be incorporated with the reading of this book. You can discuss the differences between being clean and dirty, and how water differs from mud. You can talk about emotions and expectations based on Bud’s experiences in the book. Ask your child to tell you how they feel when getting dirty when playing outside. Take it one step further and let your child play with water and mud and talk about the differences in consistency, color, weight, etc. You can teach kids how to make mud, just like Bud. Add water to dirt and viola. You are all set for an afternoon of fun in the yard or at the park. You can explain to kids that mud-water-mud is the never ending cycle to life and that yes, baths are a necessary part of the cycle. So, there is always the hope getting dirty again after a cleanse. I like that the full-color illustrations focus mostly on Bud and his expressions. Although there are a lot of little details in the background, for the most part, its kept simple and the attention is on Bud.

© 2015 by Nari of Ready, Set, Read. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @TheNovelWorld

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Easy Reader Review: Huff and Puff Have Too Much Stuff

Huff and Puff Have Too Much Stuff!Huff and Puff Have Too Much Stuff by Tish Rabe
Harper Collins, 2013
I Can Read: My First
Series: Huff and Puff
Ages: Pre-K to K
Genre: Farm animals, trains, friendship
Source: Library Copy

Train duo Huff and Puff (front and back) like to carry a lot of stuff. One day, they decide to add even more to their load. But can they carry it all up the hill? I’ve taken this book home to my toddler and he adores it. The rhymes are absolutely wonderful and the illustration are endearing and do a good job of carrying the story.

Puff got a kite, a bike, and a boat.
“Take me!” said a goat in a pretty pink coat.

The illustrations, I can only describe as warm and fuzzy. They are so colorful, slightly cartoonish, but very endearing. Designed for a pre-reader, there is a lot of repetition, large font, and very short sentences. My only complaint is the word “stuff” is very overused at the end of the book. I felt like there could have been another word pairing used instead. For a pre-schooler, the storyline is a bit simplistic, although it does teach some kind of lesson about not being a hoarder and sharing the excess. I like this book for toddlers because of its simplicity and the vibrant illustrations.

There are a few other books in the Huff and Puff series.

Huff and Puff [NookBook] Huff and Puff and the New Train Huff and Puff Sing Along: My First I Can Read

© 2015 by Nari of Ready, Set, Read. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @TheNovelWorld

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Easy Reader Review: Spring is Here! A Story About Seeds

Spring Is Here!: A Story About Seeds

Title: Spring is Here! A Story About Seeds by Joan Holub
Simon and Schuster Books, 2008
Ready to Read, Pre-Level 1
Ages: 3-5
Genre: Gardening, Spring

Spring is Here is a wonderful story about an army of ants planting seeds and watching them grow into beautiful tulips. Created for new/pre readers, the text is large and terse with lots of rhyming. The full page illustrations match the text exactly and show the cycle of planting, watering and waiting for a seed to turn into a plant. The illustrations are vibrant and fun and its a wonderful book to read about gardening, about spring, about flowers and more.

“A drip” says Chip.
“Lots more!” says Tor.
“Yay! Rain” says Jane.

You can encourage kids to create their own garden rhymes. Sound out the word seed, and have see what rhymes your child can come up with. What I really appreciate about this book is that despite the simple text, there is an actual story to follow with a variety of characters. This is a great addition for spring booklists or for a real-aloud for Kindergarteners.

© 2015 by Nari of Ready, Set, Read. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @TheNovelWorld

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Easy Reader Review: Aaron is a Good Sport

Aaron is a Good SportAaron is a Good Sport by PD Eastman
Random House, 2015
Step Into Reading, Step 1: Ready to Read
Ages: 5-6
Genre: Alligator, Hobbies

Eastman’s classic character Aaron the alligator makes his first easy reader appearance in this book. Aaron is a good sport with many hobbies and he likes to try new things. But somehow, he manages to find trouble no matter what he does.

Aaron the alligator is a fairy amusing character. He manages to find trouble just doing the simplest things. Throwing the ball results in a broken window, roller-skating results in falling down flat. The rhymes are fun, the character is engaging and I think he participates in activities that young readers can easily relate to. The text is repetitive and the font is large enough to make this age appropriate for beginning readers.

Aaron rides
a scooter.
It has two wheels

He also rides a bike.
It also has
two wheels.

But what happens when Aaron tries to roller-skate? Too many wheels! Aaron falls down. The text is paired perfectly with the illustrations, which are simple and concise. For kids who’ve grown up with Aaron the alligator from picture books, this will be a great next step on their reading journey.

© 2015 by Nari of Ready, Set, Read. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @TheNovelWorld

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Easy Reader Review: A Day with Miss Lina’s Ballerinas

A Day with Miss Lina's BallerinasA Day with Miss Lina’s Ballerinas by Grace Maccarone
Macmillans Children’s Publishing Group, 2012
My Readers, Level
Ages: 5-6
Genre: Ballet, Dance

Spend the day with Miss Lina’s ballerinas to see what they do with their time away from dance school. Where do they pose with their toes?

I think this is a great book for kids interested in dance or ballet. The illustrations are pastel, colorful and do a good job of relating the story. They align well with the text. The few things I didn’t like were the lack of boys. Quite a few boys take ballet classes, so it would have been fun to see one or two boys mixed in with the group. There isn’t much diversity in the girls that are presented in the book either. Only 1 girl out of 8 is non-white. I also wish that one or two ballet terms were used throughout the book, but I was glad to see the poses named at the end of the book. The text has a fun rhyme to it.

Class is over.
On the street,
they go to school
on dancing feet.

The rhythm of the book is great for a beginning reader. They can better sound out the words as they read aloud. Overall, the text and illustrations make this a very appealing book to young girls interested in dance or ballet.

© 2015 by Nari of Ready, Set, Read. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @TheNovelWorld

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Easy Reader Review: Clara and Clem: Under the Sea

Clara and Clem Under the Sea
Under the Sea by Ethan Long
Penguin Young Readers, 2014
Level 1: Emergent Reader
Series: Clara and Clem
Ages: 5-6
Genre: Underwater Life

Friends Clara and Clem taking a rhyming look at underwater life in this colorful easy reader. They hug sharks, find buried treasure and more.

This was one of the Cybils shortlist titles that my group reviewed. Its a fairly fun read. I love the vibrant illustrations, the graphics pretty much sell the tale. I did find the text to be pretty simple and some of the rhymes felt forced. This is third book of  the Clara and Clem books. I like the range of topics that the books cover: Clara and Clem Take a Ride, in Outer Space. I’m curious to see where they go next.

Clara and Clem Take a Ride (HC) Clara and Clem in Outer Space

Overall, its a fun book that introduces new vocabulary in a fun way. The illustrations are really the selling point of the books for me. I like the pair of Clara and Clem, although there isn’t really much to their characters. They are just the vehicles that take us along with their adventures.

© 2015 by Nari of Ready, Set, Read. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @TheNovelWorld

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Easy Reader Review: Friday the Scaredy Cat: The Scariest Day Ever…So Far

Friday the Scaredy Cat: The Scariest Day Ever . . . So Far (Ready-to-Read)The Scariest Day Ever … So Far by Kara McMahon
Simon Spotlight, 2013
Level 1: Star Reader
Series: Friday the Scaredy Cat
Ages: 5-7
Genre: Cats, fear

Events unfold as Friday the scaredy cat experiences the scariest day of his life, seeing a number of new things in his house all in one day!

Friday woke up one day to see a new pink bed next to his blue bed. Being new made the bowl instantly scary and Friday hid under the rug. After that, he goes around the house, spotting all sorts of new objects and smells. New bowl, new toys and even new food! But as Friday keeps exploring, he finds out what is behind all these new and different things. With the help of a new friend, Friday realizes that perhaps they aren’t so scary afterall.

Trying new things, or seeing things that are different can be intimidating to some kids. They don’t like change or don’t understand it. I like the way this book approaches this type of fear. The illustrations do a fantastic job of highlighting Friday’s emotions as he goes about his day, discovering all these new things in his home.

As a level 1 book, this book features larger font, repetitious phrases and a humor that children will be able to relate to.

It was different, so he was scared. Friday hid behind the sofa.

Friday’s hiding place changes with every new object that he encounters. I do like the ending, when he discovers who all those new objects belong to. I like that Friday tries to be brave and scary when its time to meet the “monster.” This is as great book to read when talking about upcoming changes that will be taking place at home. Are you moving, or expecting another child? Will there be a reshuffling of routines at the house? This book deals with these topics in a way that lets kids express their emotions through Friday the scaredy cat.

© 2015 by Nari of Ready, Set, Read. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @TheNovelWorld.

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Easy Reader Review: The Loopy Coop Hens: Pip’s Trip

Pip's TripPip’s Trip by Janet Morgan Stoeke
Penguin Young Readers, 2012
Level 2: Progressing Reader
Series: The Loopy Coop Hens
Ages: 5-7
Genre: Farm animals, friendship

Every day, hens Midge, Pip and Dot watch as the farmer’s truck drives away. One day, Pip climbs onto the truck to see the “wide world” and goes on an expected journey.

The book is divided into 7 pages, about 3-4 pages each. From start to the finish, the story is engaging, with wonderful graphics that illustrate the storyline. There is some intriguing plot development taking place throughout the story, especially the fun twist as to what Pip regards as his joy-ride in the truck. This is the second book of the Loopy Coop Hens series.

As a beginning reader book, it features large font size, and repetition of phrases and humor to appeal to a wide audience. Although the chapters are short, I felt like there were a couple too many. It made the story feel unnecessarily choppy. Although I do like the message of being brave and trying new things. Pip’s curiosity took her on an unexpected adventure, even if she didn’t actually go anywhere. It is a great book for starting a discussion about trying new things and going to new places.

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