Dragon's Fat Cat, story and pictures by Dav Pilkey 48pp RL1
This is exactly the kind of book that I wish there were more of - a first grade level reading book, with chapters that LOOKS like a chapter book. I see so many kids every day at work who are reading at a first grade level but want to read something that looks like a Magic Tree House book, not an easy reader. While the "Dragon" books are a little bit larger than a traditional 2nd grade level chapter book, they do have chapters and are easy to read. And, they're funny!
Most of you are probably familiar with the work of Dav Pilkey even if you don't realize it. His Captain Underpants chapter books have been huge sellers for over 10 years now and his Dumb Bunnies picture books for even longer. Pilkey is a funny guy who is interested in appealing to kids on their level, which means he really gets potty humor and thinks "underpants" is a silly word. However, not much of that sensibility pops up in the Dragon books, although Dragon can be a little clueless most of the time, which makes for some funny situations and an entertaining read.
In my favorite, Dragon Gets By, which is (hopefully only temporarily) out of print, Dragon wakes up very tired. He reads and egg and fries his newspaper, butters his tea and sips his toast and, sooner than later, ends up back in bed where he belongs. In the chapter titled, "Shopping," Dragon restocks his cupboards, but he is so hungry that he sits outside his car and eats all of his groceries. Afterwards, he is so stuffed that he cannot fit in his car to drive home. He decides to push it home, since it's all downhill, but things get out of hand. In some ways, Dragon reminds me of Frog and Toad, Arnold Lobel's great beginning to read series, which is my standard bearer for all good easy reader books. Like Dragon, Toad is a little neurotic, a little difficult and a little confused about the best way to get things done. But that, along with Pilkey's bright, cartoon like illustrations, are what makes for great, hilarious reading!