January 13, 2009

Houndsley and Catina series by James Howe, illustrated by Marie-Louise Gay

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , , , at 11:02 pm by suebe2

houndsleyHoundsley and Catina  (AR 2.9 )

Houndsley and Catina and the Birthday Surprise (AR 2.8 )

Houndsley and Catina and the Quiet Time  (AR 3.3)

by James Howe

Illustrated by Marie-Louise Gay

Candlewick Press

Finding good beginning readers is tough, especially if the reader you are trying to please is a boy.  If this is your situation, try out the Houndsley and Catina series. 

I wasn’t sure my son would like them.   They’re quiet, sweet little stories.  Granted, my son loves cats and Catina is a cat, but she’s a cat in a dress. 

Fortunately, my worries were misplaced.  He loves these books every bit as much as I do.  Each book contains three chapters.  Unlike some beginning readers, each of these chapters is a stand-alone story.  Your young reader can finish one chapter, approximately 10 pages, put the book down, and not be lost later on.  While each chapter is a separate story, all three are tied up nicely in the last chapter. 

For those of you who recognize Howes’ name, he is the author of Bunnicula. 

Collage sparks Marie-Louise Gay’s watercolors, illustrations that are every bit as sweet as the story. 

I normally don’t use the word sweet twice in one day, unless I accidentally my husband’s over sugared coffee cup.  But I can’t really come up with a better description of these books.  The characters are kind.  The stories are such that a younger child reading above age level wouldn’t find anything inappropriate in them.  And a finicky reader, my son, loved them.  What more can I say?

If your newly independent reader is intimidated by long books, give these a try.  They vary in length from approximately 1100 words to 1200 words but are broken up in a way that makes them easy to conquer. 

Happy Reading!


November 22, 2008

What To Do About Alice?

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , , at 4:28 am by suebe2

fotheringham1What To Do About Alice?  by Barbara Kerley, illustrated by Edwin Fotheringham

Scholastic Press, 2008

AR Level 5.2

Think biography is ho hum?  Then pop open the covers of a marvelous adventure subtitled How Alice Roosevelt Broke the Rules, Charmed the World, and Drove Her Father Teddy Crazy!

Kerley’s text is a fast-paced galloping tale about Alice who wouldn’t let leg braces, being a girl, or being the President’s daughter slow her down.   But seriously, should we really expect anything else from Teddy Roosevelt’s daughter?  Come on.  We’re talking Teddy Roosevelt!  Keeping that in mind, Alice is everything you would expect and more.  Learn how she lived her life to the fullest from the time she was a child way up into her eighties although for the full effect you’ll have to read the back matter too.

Book design creates a historic feel with a taller than wide format and illustrations that, though digital, pair with the text to contribute a wealth of historic detail. 

And don’t think that this book is just for girls.  The humor and sense of adventure as well as Emily Spinach will all appeal to boys as well.  

A great choice for kids who love real and true.  A great choice for the irrepressable child in us all.   



The taller than wide format and Fotheringham’s

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