Rocket Writes a StoryRocket has always loved listening to stories, and now that he can read he absolutely loves books. "Rocket even liked the way books smelled. When he opened a new book, it smelled like a place he'd never been to, like a friend he'd never met." Talk about an opening that melts my heart!
by Tad Hills
NY: Schwartz and Wade, 2012
ages 4 - 8
available at your local library and on Amazon
Every day, Rocket goes off looking for new words. He collects words, brings them back, and adds them to his word tree - with the help of his faithful teacher, the little yellow bird. Rocket is excited to use all of his new words to write a story, finding inspiration in a shy little owl perched atop a tall pine tree. Rocket works hard on his story, wagging his tail when it's going well, growling when he's frustrated. Hills does not rush the pacing, showing that stories take time and effort to develop. But best of all, he shows how much the little owl wants to hear Rocket's story.
Reading this with a small group of beginning readers in 1st grade, they loved spotting words they could read on Rocket's word tree and in his story. Hills' picture support and choice of words perfectly supported and encouraged these new readers. They loved spotting the early pictures of owl peaking out of her nest, guessing that Rocket would discover the bird atop the tree. And they could easily identify with Rockets frustrations and excitement.
Rockets stories are perfect to share with young 5 and 6 year olds just beginning the journey learning how to read and write. They love Tad Hills' gentle tone, the little yellow bird's warm support and encouragement, and Rocket's enthusiasm for learning.
I especially enjoyed reading Julie Danielson's interview with Tad Hills on the Kirkus Reviews Blog and then her followup post on Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast. Find other reviews of Rocket Writes a Story at Jen Robinson's Book Page and Tasha Saecker's Waking Brain Cells.
The pictures are shared through Schwartz & Wade's Flickr stream; all are copyright ©Tad Hills, 2012. The review copy was kindly sent by the publisher, Schwartz & Wade, an imprint of Random House Children's Books. If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion goes to Great Kid Books (at no cost to you!). Thank you for your support.
Review ©2012 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books