Sunday, February 21, 2010

Books about pets for early readers (ages 4 - 6)

Do you have an early reader in your family?  Children who are very early readers need books specially chosen for them. At the bottom of this post, I will go into more detail about what I look for in an early reader. But first, I'd like to share two books for very early readers about kids who love their dog. My Dog, Buddy and When Tiny Was Tiny are two fun books about little kids and their special friendship with their dog.
My Dog, Buddy
by David Milgrim
NY: Scholastic, 2008
Scholastic Beginning Reader - Level 1
ages 4 - 6
When you're the little kid in the family, it sometimes feels like no one listens to you.  But Buddy listens best when the young boy in this story talks to him.  When Dad tells Buddy to sit, Buddy stands up and barks. When Dad tells Buddy to stand up and bark, Buddy sits! But when the little boy tells Buddy to come, he does.  Of course, a friendly lick of an ice cream cone helps!  This is a fun, simple book that appeals to little kids.  I love the way the whole family looks to the little kid to help them find Buddy when he's lost.  As he says, "You have to know how to talk to a dog." It's a great choice for an early reader.

David Milgrim is the author of over a dozen books including a "Ready to Read" series for Atheneum featuring a robot named Otto.  We love this series, but unfortunately it's out of print.  Check for these books at your local library.

When Tiny Was Tiny
by Cari Meister
illustrated by Rich Davis
NY: Viking, 1999
Puffin Easy-to-read, level 1
ages 4 - 6
Tiny is a very big dog, but Tiny was not always big. When he was tiny, he fit in a shoe or pocket. Then Tiny grew and grew. "Now Tiny is very big!" This is a sweet story about the joy a little boy has playing with his giant dog.  It compares things they used to do when Tiny was a little dog, and things they still do now that Tiny is big.  The trouble that Tiny gets into will have your little reader laughing and giggling.  As you see Tiny tracking mud through the kitchen, you read "When Tiny was tiny, he had big feet."  On the next page, Tiny is standing on the little boy's foot.  "He still does. Ow! Get off my foot, Tiny."  Throughout, this book celebrates the friendship the little boy has with his dog, and how that friendship doesn't change even though Tiny has gotten bigger.  I'd love to ask the little kid reading if their friends have change as they've gotten bigger, or if they're still friend with the kids they played with in preschool.  If you like the Tiny stories, look for others in the series: Tiny the Snow Dog, Tiny Goes Camping, Tiny Goes to the Library, and Tiny's Bath.

When I am choosing a book for a early reader, I look at the story, the words and sentences, and the design or layout of the book. The story should be engaging so that it makes these children want to keep reading. Stories that are funny and where kids can see themselves in the story are best, in my view. Early readers need books with very simple, short sentences (about five words long). For very early readers, I look for words that are three to five letters long for the most part. Longer, harder words should be supported by pictures. The design of an early reader is also very important. The text needs to be large and clear, with only one sentence per page for very early readers.

You can find these books at your local library, local bookstores, or on Amazon.  If you make a purchase on Amazon using the links here, a small portion will go to Great Kid Books (at no cost to you).  This will be used to purchase more books to review. Thank you for your support!


  1. Oh my goodness, the dog one looks awesome! I love finding new kid books like this!

  2. I'm always looking for good early readers. And I completely agree with your comment about them needing to be funny. My son is much more likely to read a book with a funny plot.

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