Sunday, December 4, 2016

We Are Growing! by Laurie Keller: a new favorite for growing readers (ages 5-7)

What makes kids want to read? Books that are fun to read! Over 70% of kids (in the Scholastic Kids & Family Reading Report) say that they want books that "make them laugh." This is especially true for kids just beginning to read. A new favorite is Laurie Keller's We Are Growing!, part of the new Elephant & Piggie Like Reading! series. Our 1st graders love-love-love Elephant & Piggie books, and they are excited to meet these new friends.
We Are Growing!
by Laurie Keller
Elephant & Piggie Like Reading series
Disney-Hyperion, 2016
Your local library
ages 5-7
*best new book*
With over-the-top emotions, several blades of grass share their excitement as they grow taller and taller. "Bam! Whee! Zap!" exclaim the shoots of grass as they sprout up. Readers will giggle as they watch these goofy leaves grow. With kid-appropriate enthusiasm, they brag about what makes them special.
"You are growing TALL."
"I am the TALLEST!"
"He is the tallest."
Each blade discovers their own special feature. "I am the CURLIEST!... I am the SILLIEST!" Keller hooks kids with her cartoon illustrations, and she supports new readers by having simple large words and illustrations that help give clues for more challenging words. Just look at the way she breaks up the words into short speech bubbles:
"I just grew. All by myself. Cool, huh?"
"I know, I know. I made it look EASY."
I also love how Keller taps into the way kids are amazed at their own growth process. Just talk to a 1st grader when they loose a tooth -- it's so exciting, because it shows they're growing and their body is changing. Even when the lawn mower chops them down to size, the grass blades grow again. She also taps into kids' competitive spirit, but shows that everyone has a different feature that makes them special. Adults might find this corny, but kids love it.

My early test readers loved this so much that they read it over and over together, memorizing each page. The ending makes my heart glow, as Elephant and Piggie read this book together and declare:
"This book is the FUNNIEST!"
"I love to read."
Me, too."
If you like the Elephant & Piggie series, you'll love this new addition. Definitely also check out Dan Santat's The Cookie Fiasco, another new entry in Elephant & Piggie Like to Read! With Mo Willems' clear editorial guidance, this series is continuing his standout tradition of easy readers that bring on the giggles and make kids want to read.

Illustrations © Laurie Keller 2016. The review copy was kindly sent by the publisher, Disney-Hyperion. If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion goes to Great Kid Books. Thank you for your support.

©2016 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books

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