Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Small Readers: Smick by Doreen Cronin

I've never reviewed a picture book in Small Readers, which is my series for easy readers. But when I read this through, the first thing I thought was Geisel. Absolutely, Geisel all the way.

There are fifteen words and they tell a sweet and simple story, with plenty of humor. The main word, of course, is "Smick" the name of the dog. An unseen narrator gives Smick instructions, "Sit, Smick." When things go wrong, they add commentary, "Oh, Smick, oh!"

I hadn't heard of Medina before; I think this is her first children's book in the US, although there are images on her website that imply a lot of other books I wasn't able to find any other titles. Anyways. She has a loose, cartoon style that was a great counterpoint to Cronin's repetitive, limited text. With spare charcoal lines, lit up by a blue collar and gold tag, Smick sits, jumps, runs and leaps across the page. The second character, Chick, is one of the two other items that appear - the other being a photograph of a stick. Chick's body is a flower petal with a speckled yellow center and red edges.

The illustrations spread across pages with generous white space, leaving nothing to distract from the simple story. The font is extra large and bold, perfect for the earliest beginning reader or to share with a baby.

Verdict: This is one of those books that shows that simple can be best. A great choice for a beginning reader, to read aloud to a baby, or to share in storytime. Highly recommended.

ISBN: 9780670785780; Published 2015 by Viking/Penguin; Review copy provided by publisher; Donated to the library

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