The Reader is a short, gentle story for young children. It encourages a love of reading, as it tells the story of a boy (the reader) and his dog journeying through the snow to a special spot, to share a special snack, and a special story. While it does seem odd to me that the boy would choose the top of a snowy hill in winter to have a snack and read to his dog, I chose to look beyond that plot to point out a deeper lesson with my 6 year old daughter.
The story states that the trip up the hill is hard work, but the boy is good at working hard. The story states that the climb is long and slow, but the dog is good at waiting. I pointed out to my daughter that learning to read is long, hard work ... but that if she just keeps working hard, she'll get there! And once she really masters reading, her reading skills will take off just as quickly as the boy's trip back down the hill on his sled.
The illustrations are beautiful, with an old-fashioned, simple feel to them. The text is non-rhyming, non-rhythmic, but has a poetic style to it. There are a few places that are a bit rough. On one particular page-turn I thought I'd missed a page because it just seemed to not flow from the previous page, but I hadn't. That was how the story was written.
I had hoped this book would help encourage my daughter in her journey to learn to read. I'm not sure if it's a book she'll ask for again and again, or not. Only time will tell.