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How Rocket Learned to Read Hardcover – July 27, 2010
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From School Library Journal
PreSchool-Grade 2 An endearing white dog with black spots loves chasing leaves and chewing sticks. He also loves napping under his favorite tree. Then his sleep is interrupted one spring day by a tiny yellow bird that designates him her first student. Rocket wants no part of her lessons, but the bird is determined to teach him to read. She returns each day, hangs an alphabet banner from the trees, and gushes, Ah, the wondrous, mighty, gorgeous alphabet. Then she begins to read a story, stopping at an enticing part. Overcome by curiosity to hear more, Rocket eventually enters into the bird's lessons, and the two have a grand time using the mighty, gorgeous alphabet to spell out all the things in Rocket's world. The bird leaves as winter approaches, but Rocket continues practicing, spelling everything in sight. And when Bird returns the following spring, a tail-wagging, eager-to-read student greets her with joy. The illustrations, rendered in oil and colored pencil, offer full pages, spreads, and oval vignettes. They depict Rocket in all his various moods, from diagonal brows raised in displeasure to delight at his teacher's return. Adults will love the bird's enthusiasm, her use of stories, and her ability to associate lessons with Rocket's everyday life to win over her reluctant pupil. Youngsters will find this addition to Hills's cast of adorable animal characters simply irresistible. Marianne Saccardi, formerly at Norwalk Community College, CT
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Well, that's what we have here. Rocket has a certain wide-eyed cheerful appeal without being dopey or simple. He is adventurous but alert. He is brave and resourceful. He is sometimes bemused or inattentive, but he is not a foolish character. In this volume he's learning to read with the help of a very determined little bird. Between the drawings, (which are charming and expressive), and the narration, (which is clear but not patronizing), you get a story that is easy enough to follow, maybe with a little help, and very satisfying. There is a lot of extra business scatterred throughout the illustrations, so there are things to talk about or to point out to your little reader as you go through the story.
"Charm" is a bit of an overused description, so let's just say that this book is a mellow little lark. And sometimes that's just what you want. A nice little find. Definitely worth a look.
The follow up book about writing a story is a bit over my son's head, but would be much more appropriate for most 5-6 year olds or a very advanced 4 year old. If you enjoy this book, I'd highly recommend the Step 1 reader Rocket's 100th Day of School. Great for counting and really cute too.