Thursday, January 23, 2020

Small Readers: Animal Time: Hide and Peek by Lori Haskins Houran, illustrated by Alex Willmore

I'm always looking for new easy reader series, especially in the younger range, and while it took me a while to find a title from this new series, I'm very pleased with it.

In bright, splashy colors, this simple easy reader tells the story of Bird, an ostrich, who is easily startled. She is walking along with a big purple elephant friend when she hears a peep! She promptly squeaks out "Eek!" and buries her head in the sand, only to be encouraged and comforted by her friends, "Peek, Bird! It's just Ape." This is, by the way, inaccurate - since it has a tail it's more likely some species of monkey. Simple hints on each page give the reader something to look for as they follow Bird's alarms and meet Sloth next. Then comes Mouse, who turns the tables and frightens Elephant! It's Bird's turn to comfort and encourage her friend and they give up their "Eek!" for a game of hide-and-seek.

The art is bold and simple; Elephant is a big purple splotch, Sloth a lightly sketched gray bundle of arms and legs, and Bird a black ball with fluffy white feathers, long beige neck, and pink beak. Although there is a simple seek-and-find element, it doesn't detract from the text, which is helpful for very beginning readers. This is the easiest level, including only a handful of words, such as "bird," "peep," and "eek." There is plenty of repetition and the font is bold and black.

Verdict: Mildly humorous, with attractive illustrations and bold, simple text this is a good addition to fill in your very early reading sections. While some of the words, "heard" or "please" are a little more complex, most readers will be able to handle them, especially with the repetition.

ISBN: 9780807572085; Published August 2019 by Albert Whitman; Borrowed from another library in my consortium

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