Top positive review
58 people found this helpful
Better than most Step 3 readers
on October 26, 2008
I can't be the only Mom that gets frustrated by this. I go to buy early reading books and encounter ONLY TV- and movie- marketed characters in the books. I would like better choices.
Anyway, Balto was the only Step-3 book in the store that did NOT have a Princess or SpongeBob on the cover, so we got it. I expected to get some flack from the child who is afraid of dogs, but even he liked it fairly well.
Balto is a sled dog in 1925 who participates in a relay. The purpose is to bring medicine to an Alaskan town with a diphtheria epidemic, carrying it through a driving blizzard and terrible conditions. Balto had the second-to-last leg of the relay, but when it was time to hand off to another team, the other team was not there. So Balto and his team kept going. Since he was the dog who made it into town with the medicine, he got the credit for the whole adventure! We talked about the other dog teams and drivers who had to come through the deep snow, and how all those teams working together got the job done.
Here is what the first grader liked best about the story (his words):
+ There is a map. Maps are good.
+ The dog kept going.
+ The doctor helped the sick children.
+ I like the picture of the statue of Balto.
+ Balto was a hero.
Here is what the Mom liked in the story:
+ It would have been easy to quit, but the driver and his sled team kept going, despite miserable conditions.
+ The words were just challenging enough.
+ I liked the map, too.
+ The illustrations are wonderful. The book has fairly many pages (48), but the pictures keep up the excitement.
+ There really is a statue of Balto in Central Park, and you can google it to see the real statue (of course, if you live near NYC, you can see it live!)
As far as reading levels go, I would say level 3 is a pretty good judgment. My son was reading phonics readers and step 1 readers over the summer, and his confidence is building. This book did not frustrate him, but it took him a while to sound out some of the words. I had to help with the names of some towns and complicated words (Anchorage, diphtheria). The rest, he did himself.