Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Roscoe Riley Rules - a fun series (ages 6 - 8)

Roscoe Riley Rules is a fun new series for kids new to reading chapter books.  Roscoe Riley is a good-hearted first grader who gets into all sorts of mishaps with his teachers and friends. It's a great choice for first and second graders who are ready to read a chapter book, but still need the support of plenty of pictures and a controlled vocabulary. Best of all, this story is both fun and thoughtful.
Roscoe Riley Rules #5:
Don't Tap-Dance on Your Teacher

by Katherine Applegate
illustrated by Brian Biggs
ages 6 - 8
In this story, Roscoe really wants to take tap lessons because he loves the sounds that his friend Emma's shoes make when she dances.  They're loud! They're fun! "Shoes with built-in noise? I thought.  What will they think of next?" Some of the boys warn him that tap dancing is for girls, but Roscoe loved watching a video of a famous male tap dancer.  The guy whirled faster and faster, and his tapping got louder and louder.  "I never dreamed feet could make so much noise!"  But Roscoe starts to get second thoughts when he realized that he was the only boy at tap lessons.  And when Roscoe and Emma are getting ready to perform at a school assembly, Roscoe decides he can't go through with it and he fakes an injury.

I like the short, snappy sentences and the simple vocabulary.  The print is large and set off with lots of white space. Black-and-white drawings, some full page, help new readers figure out what is happening.

But best of all is how Roscoe wrestles with his decision.  He's found something he loves to do, but when the big boys tease him, Roscoe doubts himself.  So he lies to his best friend and feels awful.  This is a funny book that's also thought-provoking, a winning combination.

You can read the first 20 pages online at the HarperCollins website.

I'm looking forward to reading the newest installment: Never Race a Runaway Pumpkin"If Roscoe guesses the weight of a giant pumpkin, he'll be a winner! Easy, right? But a little black cat keeps trying to cross his path! Will the bad-luck kitty ruin Roscoe's chance to win?" Sounds perfect for Halloween!You can read a review at A Year of Reading.

Here's the whole series:
1. Never glue your friends to chairs (c2008)
2. Never swipe a bully's bear (c2008)
3. Don't swap your sweater for a dog (c2008)
4. Never swim in applesauce (2008)
5. Don't tap-dance on your teacher (c2009)
6. Never walk in shoes that talk (2009)
7. Never Race a Runaway Pumpkin (2009)

Stop by your local bookstore or library to find these.  You can also order them from Amazon. If you make a purchase by clicking through to Amazon, Great Kid Books receives a small percentage, which will be used to buy more books to review.


  1. I scooped one of these up for my library - I don't even remember why - and was delighted to have a procession of solemn little boys marching up to my desk to inform me "these are really funny. are there any more?" Roscoe Riley Rules!

  2. First time hearing about this series. Looks really sweet. I love children's stories with dancing and I just LOVE the title. Really nice review.

  3. Thanks for these reviews, Mary Ann. You provide a really lovely service!

  4. We love this series. I have a 7yo.