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The Best Way to Play: A Little Bill Book for Beginning Readers, Level 3 (Oprah's Book Club) Paperback – September 1, 1997

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Oprah Book Club® Selection, December 1997: Well-loved comedian Bill Cosby encourages kids to get creative in this simple story of how your own imagination can take you farther into outer space--and help you chase more aliens--than any TV show or video game ever could. In The Best Way to Play--one of Cosby's three Little Bill books for emerging readers--Little Bill tells his story from a friendly, first-person point of view, starting Saturday morning, when "All of the grown-ups were busy doing grown-up things."

He and the neighborhood kids are watching TV when they see an ad for a Space Explorers video game that instantly infuses desperate longing into their alien-catching little hearts. When Little Bill's friend Andrew gets a copy, everyone is thrilled. However, after quickly catching 100 aliens and getting perfect scores, the kids are bored with the game. They head for their trusty vacant lot where they chase an alien that looks like a cat and proceed to fly all the way to the moon! (Or at least they pretend to.) When Little Bill confesses to his mom that it was more fun to play outside than with the game, she says, "I'm glad. Now go to sleep. Space Explorers need their rest." While the engaging, upbeat story itself escapes heavy-handedness, the message is clear, clear, clear. Varnette P. Honeywood's flat, boldly colorful illustrations are full of life and expression, and early readers will welcome the spacious format, with large type and only a few short sentences on every page. (Ages 5 to 8) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

Kindergarten-Grade 3. Cosby turns his hand to writing, telling stories about situations that children often face. In The Best Way to Play, Little Bill, the narrator, and his friends get caught up in the excitement and marketing of their favorite TV cartoon, Space Explorers, and desperately want their parents to buy them the expensive video game. They become bored with it quickly, however, and realize that it's more fun to play Space Explorers outside. In The Meanest Thing to Say, Little Bill comes face to face with a bully. The Treasure Hunt takes him on a voyage of self-exploration. It seems to him that everyone in his family has a special quality. After a full day of searching, he discovers that his is "telling stories and making people laugh." These titles feature short chapters, making them appropriate for beginning readers?but they're also short enough to be read aloud. Honeywood's illustrations are bright and eye-catching, and show Little Bill and his friends and family as having distinctive personalities and characteristics. Each book comes with a letter to parents from a child psychiatrist about the subject matter in that book. While the writing is nothing extraordinary, Cosby has a good grasp of the issues and how the world looks through children's eyes. The primarily African-American characters also make these books welcome additions to easy-reader collections.?Dina Sherman, Brooklyn Children's Museum, NY
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: 1 - 3
  • Lexile Measure: 360L (What's this?)
  • Paperback: 40 pages
  • Publisher: Cartwheel; Oprah's Book Club edition (September 1, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0590956175
  • ISBN-13: 978-0590956178
  • Product Dimensions: 0.2 x 6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #121,140 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 26, 1999
Format: Paperback
I cannot believe anyone would NOT like this book! My 6 year old said "Hey, I like this book!". She was AMAZED by it. It's IMAGINATIVE and written from the kids point of view. What a concept! It tells the story of a boy who discovers for himself the truth about something instead of being "preached to" by his parents. As good parents know, a lecture isn't always the best way to teach a child something. Sometimes life can do a better job (in some areas). This book shows that.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By D.R.E. on January 21, 2000
Format: Paperback
For the first time, my son has truly enjoyed story time/reading. I can't explain it, but he just adores these Little Bill books. We have tried EVERYTHING to get him interested in reading and listening to stories. Maybe a 4 1/2 yr. old can simply relate! We all like the values being taught as well as the illustrations. It is a real joy to see and hear our son "read" us Little Bill stories. What a blessing these stories/books have been to our family. Thank you Bill and Varnette!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Lawrance Bernabo HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on March 25, 2004
Format: Paperback
In "The Best Way to Play" Little Bill and his friends find out that their favorite television "Space Explorers" has a new video game, so they all go home and start hounding their parents to spend fifty bucks to buy it for them. However, Big Bill says for Little Bill to ask his mother, his mother thinks $50 is too much to spend on a toy, and Alice the Great thinks he should be asking his parents for a book. The situation is that Little Bill and his friends do not think that they can have any fun less they have the new game. But, as Little Bill's mother correctly points out, asking and getting are two different things.
The point of this Little Bill Book for Beginning Readers, which is illustrated by Varnette P. Honeywood, is that Little Bill and his friends already had a great way of having fun without the new video game when they were waiting for "Space Explorers" to start and were imagining that they had their own space ship sailing through the galaxy. In his introductory letter to parents child psychiatry specialist Dr. Alvin Pouissant points out that using "television as a springboard for creative play" is a great way for children to develop their imaginations and to benefit from physical activity.
Bill Cosby's story also has a message about advertising hype that notes how the actual product is often disappointing. However, this particular point may well be the weak point in Cosby's argument. The "Space Explorers" video game is apparently easy enough that Little Bill and his friends can all get perfect scores. I am sure there are video games out there combine the twin sins of being expensive and not challenging, but my experience with such games has been that they can be the latter without being the former.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By J. Dixon on February 21, 2006
Format: Paperback
These level 3 chapter books are great confidence builders for those readers just getting comfortable with reading. The story is engaging and the chapters give a sense of accomplishment along with suspense (whats going to happen next). Funny with a good message also.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Reginald H. Henderson on February 2, 1998
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a good book, it's pretty and fun, and helps kids understand that they don't always have to have the toy they see on TV.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 12, 1998
Format: Paperback
Right off the bat, the illustrations make you want to read this "easy" [high-interest/limited vocabulary]book. Little Bill is an "everyboy" character whose life is enriched through interactions with his family, friends, and most of all--his own imagination! I use this book to teach character lessons to my 5th grade students and to get them hooked on reading, even though this book could be read independently by much younger students. This series is going into my personal literary treasure chest for my future grandchildren. It's like watching a great movie between the covers--far better than any old video game!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've looked for the Bill Cosby "Little Bill" series in every bookstore, but could find them only online (Amazon.com). The books do not give you the same "Little Bill" experience as the program on Noggin, but the stories are good, and the artwork is excellent. Now if we only the books could show you Bill Cosby smiling and goofing around with Little Bill, and hear the wonderful music from the TV series, *THAT* would be the BEST way to play!
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By jrt5xd on June 17, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I purchased this book knowing it was too advanced for my little reader, but I want it around for him to grow in to. Eventually he will be able to read and enjoy it for himself and I want it to be a familiar friend.
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The Best Way to Play: A Little Bill Book for Beginning Readers, Level 3 (Oprah's Book Club)
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