Title: How Rocket Learned to Read by Tad Hills
Published by Schwartz & Wade
I checked this out based on the cover (again!). It is so cute! It didn’t even register that it is by the author of Duck & Goose, which I thought was a wonderful read. Guess what? How Rocket Learned to Read is, too. I hate to use this word, but adorable pretty much sums it up. This is a fun book with engaging illustrations. I loved it!
Rocket loves to play. He also loves to nap under his favorite tree, so he can sniff the autumn smells. When a lively little bird tries to get him to learn to read, Rocket isn’t interested. Not until the little bird starts reading a book about a dog named Buster and his lost bone. Then Rocket is on-board with his education. He wants to find out what happens at the end of the book!
Like Duck & Goose, the illustrations make this book standout. Rocket is so cute! He has such an expressive face, and both Rocket and the bird have a ton of personality. Since I love to read, I enjoyed seeing Rocket learn to love words as well. I can’t recommend this picture book highly enough – it is one of the best I’ve read this year.
Title: City Dog, Country Frog by Mo Willems & Jon J Muth
Published by Hyperion Books for Children
Wow. I don’t know how to adequately express my feelings for this book. On one hand, it made me very sad, and I am embarrassed to admit that it made me cry. On the other hand, it made me realize the importance of friendship and making new friends, which made me happy. In terms of word count, City Dog, Country Frog is on the lean side, but the narrative is precise and direct. Combined with the gentle, engaging watercolors, the book works its magic with a minimum of prose.
Starting in the the spring, the book follows the growing friendship between a city dog and a country frog. They teach each other games and play together, as the seasons slowly unfold. Fall turns to winter, and the frog disappears. As spring returns, the dog waits and waits for the frog to return. When a curious chipmunk stops to talk to him, the cycle of friendship starts again.
I loved this book and the emotional response it easily evoked from me. Like How Rocket Learned to Read, it is easily one of the best picture books that I have read this year. In fact, it is one of the best pictures that I have ever read – period!
Review copies obtained from my local library