Besides being the author of some very funny middle grade novels (see below), Kevin Bolger is an elementary reading specialist. His sense of humor and work as an educator make him the perfect person to write engaging books for emerging readers. Even though I worked as a children's bookseller for almost 20 years and had taught my two older children to read, it wasn't until my youngest was ready to read, about 6 years ago, that I realized there were almost no good books - really basic books - for emerging readers that were not also deadly dull. Happily, I discovered TOON Books! TOON Books was started by, among many other things, a mother who was teaching her son to read and in the same situation as I was. Having been born in France, a country that loves graphic novels, Françoise Mouly started publishing graphic novels for beginning readers that are vetted by educational specialists and written and illustrated by industry greats. Now, FINALLY, another publisher is catching on to this winning formula!
Gran on a Fan and Lazy Bear, Crazy Bear cover short vowel sounds and long vowel sounds with a lot of humor, zany illustrations and basic reading concepts. Concepts are explained, with visual cues, and sentences are short. And silly. Bolger's books remind me of a favorite of mine, which, along with TOON Books is the perfect step up from Bolger's books, The Cat on the Mat is Flat by Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton. Both Bolger and Griffiths's books capture the spirit of Dr. Suess's primers like Hop on Pop and One Fish, Two Fish. Unlike Dr. Seuss's books, theirs are not long and rambling and over-the-top kooky. Bolger (and Griffiths) manages to teach and entertain at the same time while keeping books short and readable.
These are just the first two books in this series and I can't wait to get them on the shelves and see what my students think of them!
More books by Kevin Bolger!
Souce: Review Copy