Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Small Readers: Clara and Clem Under the Sea by Ethan Long

Clara and Clem have starred in several easy readers from Penguin. This Cybils finalist is fun, easy, and attractive to emergent readers.

Clara and Clem, two bulbous-headed pink siblings (who look rather like pink goldfish) are setting up blocks when their play morphs into a real ocean! They dive in and experience the wonders of the ocean, from dolphins to rays, in simple one or two-word rhymes. The words are presented in speech bubbles, green for Clara and red for Clem. "Gold! Bubble. I see trouble." Eventually they return to the real world, but they won't stay there for long as Clem demands "Again!"

Long's illustrations, outlined with white borders, are drawn in cheerful pastels, with Clara and Clem and their speech bubbles standing out strongly from the soft backgrounds. Little details, Clem's hat, Clara's clothes, are collaged photos. There are a few two-syllable words, but most are simple and there are only a couple three or four word sentences. The font is large and readable and the simple, cheerful illustrations add a light touch of humor but keep the focus on the words.

Verdict: It's not surprising this was a Cybils finalist. It's simple but funny and perfectly captures the right level of imagination, humor, and interest for a beginning reader. Highly recommended for your easy reader section.

ISBN: 9780448478128; Published 2014 by Penguin; Borrowed from another library in my consortium

No comments: