Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Review: Early Readers

We have REALLY fallen behind in reviewing books we've read.  There was a time when I religiously cataloged every book we read and made sure that every book got a review on here.  We were tracking the number of books we read at the top of the blog.  I fell woefully behind, and I can never catch up now.  In the spirit of reporting on some of our recent reading, though, I thought I'd post some snippet reviews of this week's library books, most of which are early readers.

I Am Going! (An Elephant and Piggie Book)
It's time for Piggie to go, and Gerald is not happy about it.  I recorded a video of the Bibliophile reading this, with the intent to post it here, but then I felt antsy about posting it (I never know how far to push the privacy thing).  In the meantime, you'll have to trust me that he is adorable reading this.  At first he was a little lukewarm to it, but then I explained that Gerald yells "PIGGIE!" the way he is constantly yelling "MAMA!" from another room, and then he thought this book was very funny.  I love how he has gotten the idea of question marks and exclamation points when he reads -- this book has plenty of both to practice with.

We're Going on a Picnic!

This is a repetitive, simple book about three animal friends going on a picnic.  He likes it.  I tried to explain to him that the animals hiding in the bushes are stealing the food in the picnic basket, and then he said that he didn't like the book, because it was for older boys.  But, he has since read it a few more times, so I think he quickly got over his distaste for stealing.

Cars (Full Screen Edition) The Disney Cars movie is far and away the Bibliophile's favorite, so this book was obviously going to be a winner for us.   Sometimes he reads it, sometimes I read it, sometimes we alternate pages, and for the last couple of nights, he actually had us alternate reading words throughout the whole book. 

Based on the success of Race Team, I just requested a bunch of other books in this Step Into Reading series (Levels 1 and 2; I haven't seen what Level 3 is like yet).  The reading level seems great for the Bibliophile.

Roadwork (Disney/Pixar Cars) (Step into Reading)Like Race Team, this one was also an instant hit.

Thomas and Friends: Thomas and the Jet Engine (Thomas and Friends) (Step into Reading)
The Bibliophile enjoyed this - not a surprise, given that it stars Thomas the train.  I'm not sure that the storyline really made sense to him (the analogy used to explain how the engine works is that it is like a balloon that deflates and flies quickly through the air, but he has never seen that).  We will probably make our way through the other Thomas books in this series too. 
Here Comes Silent E! (Step into Reading)

I like the idea of teaching the effect of a silent e (the story pairs up words like bit/bite, etc. in a cute way).  After we read it, I sensed he was less than enthused, so I asked him "did you like this book or no?"  He said, "no..."  I asked him why.  He said, "umm, no because... you like to go on picnics and you have a dada and there is no dada in this book, but maybe this man here on the cover could be a dada."  For the record, the book has nothing to do with picnics, or Dads.  That's what you get for asking a two year old for a book review!

The Worst Helper Ever (Step-Into-Reading, Step 2)

Bones (Step-Into-Reading, Step 2)
 This was a huge hit.  During our first reading it, the Bibliophile said "this is a funny book!" no less than four times.  When we finished, he elaborated: "this is a funny book because he does the wrong things!"  We love Richard Scarry's books around here, and this is no exception.

This was the least well liked of the bunch, BUT we haven't actually read it.  I can't get him past the cover.  I'll keep trying.  It looks like it contains quite a bit of information in it, so I think educationally it would be a great book.  EDIT: We read this today.  It was a little bland.  The last page was cute, but the rest just presented information.  At the end, the Bibliophile said, "that was a funny and boring book, because it said, 'think of your bones and say, 'Thank you!'"  He did learn (and remember) from it that the hard things in his body are bones, that there are 206 of them in his body, and that together they make up a skeleton.  So that will be our science lesson for this week.

 What do you think?  What are you reading this week?   Have you read any others books in this Step Into Reading Series that you'd recommend?  Do you have other favorite early readers?

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Christy said...

I am so impressed that he is reading these books! That is fantastic. I get very frustrated with early readers because while some level 1 readers are too easy, others are extremely difficult. I'm always happy when we find a good one though! I have printed books from and we have been happy with those too.

Infant Bibliophile said...

Christy, I'm not sure I understand the classifications. The Level 1 Thomas book seemed like the hardest to me, and he breezed through the 2's. Maybe because the subject matter (cars, for instance) overlapped with so many other books he's read, so he recognizes those words more easily than the train vocabulary in Thomas. I really like this series though. I think even the writing being big is encouraging to him somehow.

MaryAnne said...

That video sounds adorable! I can't believe he's reading so well, that's amazing!

Raising a Happy Child said...

We read some of those, and Elephant and Piggie series was very well received. The best series for Anna turned out to be "I Can Read" - the stories are engaging and not based on Disney, and the reading difficulty is on the right level. Of course, from time to time she sneaks a few of Step Into Reading Princess and Barbie books home, and usually they are very boring to read.

Infant Bibliophile said...

@Raising thank you - we will definitely check out that series ! I agree that this series is a little Disney friendly for my tastes too (I haven't gone near the princess ones!).

Britt said...

We LOVE LOVE LOVE the Elephant and Piggie books!!

Have you guys read Mo Willems' Cat the Cat books? Mister really really likes the one we have out from the library now.

Infant Bibliophile said...

@Britt, I haven't but the library just suggested them to me today! I will hunt them down. Thanks! I love the Elephant and Piggie books (we just got the one about throwing a ball again today), but I do think it takes a lot of explanation to get my 2 1/2 year old to understand the humor. He mostly just thinks it is funny because I am telling him it is funny. Reading level wise, they are great for him though. And more fun for me to read with him than a lot of alternatives. :)

Britt said...

Yeah, I know what you mean about the humor. The Cat the Cat ones are for a younger audience, I think. Mister understands them better than the Elephant and Piggie ones (which he mostly laughs at because Boo is laughing).