July 3, 2009

Plink and Plunk by James Howe

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , at 4:00 am by suebe2

plinkPlink and Plunk  (AR 2 .8 )
by James Howe
(Candlewick Press)

It can be tough enough to find beginning readers that appeal to both children and adults but trying to locate books that appeal to both boys and girls is extremely difficult.

Take a look at the Houndsley and Catina series.

When  Houndsley takes Catina boating, she returns the favor by taking him biking.  But is it really a favor?  (The next sentence is a plot spoiler so skip to the next paragraph if you don’t want a hint of what happens.)  The problem is that Catalina is afraid of water and Houndsley can’t ride a bike.

In this humorous book, each of the three chapters stands independently so the reader can stop after each for a break from working their new skills.  That said, the book can be read cover to cover if you are reading together.

Marie-Louise Gay’s illustrations combine watercolor, pencil and collage to compliment this gentle tale. 

Gentle tale?  Didn’t I say it was suitable for boys?  You bet.  It may not be car chases and mad cap mayhem but my son, at ten, adores these books.  Whenever I get a new one, I have to take it back so that I can read and review it.  Then off it goes, back into his room.

But don’t be altogether shocked.  Author James Howe writes great boy books.  If you don’t recognize his name, he is also the author of the Bunnicula series, about a mischievous vampire bunny.

Share some reading time with the new reader in your life.


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!


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