January 26, 2015
Leroy Ninker Saddles Up by Kate DeCamillo
Leroy Ninker Saddles Up
by Kate DeCamillo
For some reason, it has been a while since I picked up one of Kate DiCamillo’s books but I’m definitely happy to have made the acquaintance of Leroy Ninker Saddles Up.
Leroy is a small man with huge dreams. He works the concession stand at the Bijou Drive-in Theater. While patrons watch the movie, he nibbles popcorn and stares up at the screen. His favorites are the ones with cowboys. In fact, Leroy is well on his way to becoming a cowboy himself. He has his jeans, his lasso and his boots. When he’s not at work, he even wears his very own ten-gallon hat. But Leroy is missing one important thing.
Fortunately, coworker Beatrice Leapaleoni straightens him out. What Leroy needs is a horse and Beatrice helps him page through the want ads. It doesn’t take long before she’s found the perfect horse for Leroy. “Very exceptionally cheap.”
Before long, Leroy is sitting atop Maybelline and soon he gets her home only to confront a problem or two. One, he has no clue what a horse is supposed to eat. Two, Maybelline is a bit to large to fit through the door of Unit #12 at the Garden Glen Apartments. Not to worry. Leroy is certain that he and Maybelline can weather a night under the stars just like out on the prairie but when a storm blows up trouble ensues and soon Leroy is on foot, searching for his friend.
The search takes him to Deckawoo Drive. Mercy Watson fans will immediately recognize that street — it is the home of none other than the porcine wonder, Mercy Watson. Not surprisingly, Leroy encounters not only Mercy but also Mrs. Watson. To find out what happens, I’m going to make you read the book, and you really should.
This isn’t exactly a sequel to the Mercy Watson series which was a very low-level chapter book with full color illustrations. Leroy Ninker is a traditional chapter book with brief chapters and spot illustrations. It is perfect for a new independent reader who likes word play and silly humor.
Young readers will love that Leroy is a small person with big dreams. They will also benefit from the message that you can make big mistakes and turn your life around. Leroy was one of the burglars from the Mercy Watson books. Fortunately, he’s left behind his life of crime to bring joy to horse and young reader alike.
Share this book with the new reader in your life. It would also make a good book for reading out loud to either a class or a young book lover.