Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Small Readers: The perfect gift by Paula Yoo and The garden by Gwendolyn Hooks, illustrated by Shirley Ng-Benitez

These two titles are from Lee & Low's Dive into Reading series. Both are labeled as "emergent", "Predictable story episodes, simple dialogue, high frequency words and familiar vocabulary." I usually consider "emergent" to be much lower level - these come in around the 400s in lexiles or a E level. They are easier stories in the Confetti Kids series.

In The perfect Gift, Mei, an Asian-American girl, tries to figure out the perfect gift for her baby brother Ming when he turns 100 days old. The story includes notes about Chinese culture, making red eggs and a 100-day celebration, as well as Mei's sweet gift, a book of drawings, for her beloved baby brother.

In The Garden, Lily and her mom miss their garden at home so they join a community garden, along with Lily's friends. Their neighbor Mr. Sam, an experienced gardener, walks them through the work of planting, weeding, and watering until they have a great harvest.

The illustrator's work is soft and colorful, showing a diverse group of children; Henry, Lily, Mei, Pablo, and Padma, in an idyllic urban setting.

Verdict: It's nice to see easy readers with some diversity and the simple stories are reader-friendly. On the other hand, they're not particularly memorable; the trend for easy readers right now is humor and cartoon-style art and layouts and these are a more traditional layout. There's no real conflict or story to grab hold of, just some everyday events. This is what I'd purchase as filler for my easy readers - the kids won't ask for them specifically, but when they need a nice, big stack of books to work their way through these are a good choice to pop onto the stack.

The Garden
ISBN: 9781620145654
The Perfect Gift
ISBN: 9781620145678

Published May 2018 by Lee & Low; Borrowed from another library in my consortium

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