The Children's Book Compass

Three Books to Spark the Joy of Reading

Posted on: January 29, 2010

Duck! Rabbit! by Amy Krouse Rosenthal & Tom Lichtenheld.   (2009). Chronicle Books.  Pages not numbered.  Grades 1 and up.  Picture Book.

Rhyming Dust Bunnies by Jan Thomas.  (2009). Beach Lane Books.  Pages not numbered.  Grades 1 to 3.  Picture Book.

Here Comes the Big, Mean Dust Bunny! by Jan Thomas.  (2009). Beach Lane Books.  Pages not numbered.  Grades 1 to 3.  Picture Book

These three books are great choices for reading aloud and demonstrating the joy of reading.  When I read Rhyming Dust Bunnies to a second grade class, they demanded two more readings immediately and they laughed delightedly throughout all three readings!  The two books about the dust bunnies feature four dust bunnies that like to play a rhyming game.  In the first book Ed, Ned and Ted each call out words that rhyme with car  – “far, jar, tar.”  But Bob says “Look!”  The other three are quick to correct him – “No, Bob…”Look!” does not rhyme with car!  The game continues each time Bob shouts out a warning and each time he is corrected,  until a broom and a vacuum clean them all up.  The last illustrations shows  the four inside the vacuum asking – “What rhymes with How Do We Get Out?”

The humor and fun continue in the second book, Here Comes the Big, Mean Dust Bunny! This time a monster dust bunny comes along to add a new adventure to the rhyming game.  It was another hit with the second graders.  The illustrations in both books feature bold colors and bright backgrounds.   Speech bubbles for each character feature large size font sometimes with bright colors.  Thomas animates the bunnies with simple, black line strokes that show their emotions.

Duck! Rabbit! offers another way to create a joyful reading experience.  Two voices debate about an animal that appears on the page.  Is it a duck or a rabbit?  Each voice argues for one point of view with evidence for each perspective.    When the argument is solved, there is a new visual puzzle to solve – it is an anteater or a brachiosaurus? 

All three books invite children to join in the reading after the teacher has read them aloud.  Duck! Rabbit! works for buddy reading, two students trading off the reading, alternating the voices.  Give the students lots of time to practice so they can be fluent readers of the text.  Some may want to be featured readers in other classrooms.

Both dust bunnies books can be shared as readers theater.  After  I read Rhyming Dust Bunnies to the second graders, I invited four children to each take the part of one of the characters.  The speech bubbles clearly indicate which dust bunny is speaking.  The children were quickly engaged in reading their parts with gusto.  The different sizes  and colors of the font indicate what words to emphasize.  We then had a sign-up sheet for the children to practice reading the books together.  On Back to School Night, I was delighted to see children reading the book to their parents.  Both Thomas books are excellent choices for readers theater presentations.  Finally, both books inspire students to rhyme themselves building on the rhymes in each book.

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1 Response to "Three Books to Spark the Joy of Reading"

One of those 2nd graders read that story to my 5th and 6th graders recently. He read with such verve…he should play Bob in the movie. 🙂 What a powerful moment for that little guy, to bring such pleasure to a group of “big kids”, who enjoyed the humor immensely. He has promised to share book 2 with us very soon.

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Pointing the Direction to New Books for Children and Teens

Marilyn Carpenter, PhD.

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