Now that I am an elementary school librarian, I find myself back where I was when my three kids were learning to read - on the hunt for easy readers that are not as dull as dirt. There are only 25 Elephant & Piggie books, so finding funny, well illustrated easy readers that my students will gravitate to is an ongoing quest. Happily, Jan Thomas and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt have caught on to this captive audience and, very smartly, created a series of books that are formatted and designed (trim size, end papers with hidden surprises) like the Elephant & Piggie books, just as funny and, happily, just as engaging to new readers. I hope that what is now a quartet of books featuring these four goofy animal friends multiplies!
Dog, Duck, Sheep and Donkey are the four goofy animal friends in My Toothbrush is Missing, My Friends Make Me Happy, and the two previous books, There's a Pest in the Garden and What Is Chasing Duck? In My Toothbrush is Missing, Dog's toothbrush has disappeared. Donkey asks, "What does a toothbrush look like?" Dog describes, and with each detail, Donkey runs off, saying, "weird. I feel like I've seen it..." He always comes back with the wrong (really wrong) thing. Repetition and picture clues along with a very basic vocabulary make these books very inviting for struggling and new readers. In My Friends Make Me Happy, Duck, Donkey and Dog try to guess what Sheep's favorite thing is. It starts with "F," the title of the book front-loading the reader with information. Of course they guess silly, ridiculous things that start with "F," and even one that doesn't, much to the frustration of Sheep. Silliness and frustration are good traits in an easy reader and Thomas delivers.
If you have or work with little listeners who like a good laugh and/or emerging readers struggling to find books at their level, definitely check out Jan Thomas's four friends!
More Books in the Four Friends Series!