You may think of potty humor and Captain Underpants when you hear the name Dav Pilkey, but I think of the silly-sweet-goofy Dragon, which was one of the first books I reviewed here when I started in 2008! When I discovered that Dragon had his own television show, I updated the review here, adding in information about other beginning readers and picture books by Pilkey that I love. In that review, I mentioned The Complete Adventures of Big Dog and Little Dog, which is now out of print. Happily, the smart people at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt decided to reissue these FANTASTIC books as leveled readers with bonus content at the end of the book.
Each book is 14 pages - which equals 14 sentences. There is repetition, with variance between Big Dog and Little Dog. In Big Dog and Little Dog we meet the furry friends and learn a about their day. Their owner, a human in a yellow dress and brown boots - we never see her face - is a good owner. After eating, "Big Dog and Little Dog are full. Big Dog and Little Dog are sleepy." The dogs yawn and settle into their beds, which are right next to each other. But, "Big Dog is lonely. Little Dog is lonely, too." The dogs resolve the situation, but not exactly in the way you might expect, Pilkey's great sense of humor coming into play. The final page finds them sleeping, Big Dog curled around Little Dog in his little bed. The tenor of the story ramps up a bit in Big Dog and Little Dog: Going for a Walk. While Little Dog likes to play in the mud, Big Dog likes to eat it. Little Dog likes to splash in the water and Big Dog likes to drink it.
There are six pages of bonus content for each book and these are things that will require adult involvement. "Picture It" has readers matching sentences from the book in one column with pictures in a parallel column. There is also a story sequencing game and a mini-lesson on nouns and verbs with an accompanying "Mad Libs" style game to play. There are also fun facts about dogs, tips on how to draw dogs and dog jokes. Best of all, these are beginning to read books that offer two great features: they are among the simplest I have found and also some of the most entertaining and engaging, which matters a lot for new readers!
Coming in October,
more Big Dog & Little Dog!
Coming in 2016?
Dav & his Little Dog
Dave Pilkey's Dragon!
Source: Review Copies