Friday, January 6, 2017

Small Readers: Dr. Seuss: The great doodler by Kate Klimo, illustrated by Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher

This simple introduction to Dr. Seuss' life is a good choice for beginning and intermediate readers. It starts with Dr. Seuss being awarded the Pulitzer Prize and then jumps back to his childhood experiences. It touches on his love of doodling, wacky inventions, interest in animals, and other events that shaped his life. The second half of the book traces his publishing career from cartoonist to children's author, including his writing habits. It discusses books that changed the way people read, like The Cat in the Hat and titles that had a big effect on popular culture, like How the Grinch stole Christmas! and later titles that focused on conservation and pacifism.

The story includes soft watercolors by Johnson and Fancher that show a friendly, but shy man and his quirky creations surrounding him throughout his life. This is a level three title from Step into Reading. They are aimed at grades 1-3, but I find they can cross over into beginning chapter books if needed. It has limited text and plenty of art on each page.

I'm gradually being sold on biographies for younger readers (I'm not talking about picture book biographies!) and this one hits all my requirements - a readable font, illustrations, and most importantly, a relevant subject to kids. Dr. Seuss' life includes both positives and negatives and Klimo touches on controversies and painful episodes in his life as well as the positive side.

Verdict: I'm looking forward to using this in my younger book club, Bookaneers, and I recommend it as a primary purchase for libraries looking to fill in their upper level easy readers.

ISBN: 9781101935514; Published 2016 by Random House; Purchased for the library

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