The great thing about the Memphis Public Library's Summer Reading Club was that it got both of my daughters into the routine of visiting the library each weekend to pick out books to read. Since my preschooler isn't yet reading on her own, she walks down the aisles pulling out any book with an eye-catching cover. It's up to us to find those hidden gems she might have overlooked.
Using this method of random selection, we amassed an eclectic mix of reading material over the summer. So, in upcoming posts, I'll share with you those stories we really enjoyed together.
Dragon Gets By and Dragon's Fat Cat by Dav Pilkey (Orchard Books) are both part of the short Dragon Tales series. If the name or illustrating style looks familiar, it's because Pilkey is the creator of the wildly popular Captain Underpants series. (Alas, living in a house full of females, such uncouth material is never read. Sigh.) Dragon is not the smartest creature in the wood, but luckily, he's helped out by his friend, Mail Mouse, so he doesn't manage to get into too much trouble.
For a preschooler or beginning reader, these books are ideal. They're easy to read, very humorously illustrated, and each chapter is brief. This introduces the child to the idea that chapters can break up a book, creating easy, bite-sized chunks of story.
In both books, Dragon gets mixed up in a way that's fun for children and adults alike. Yet it's easy enough for the child to see what is wrong. This keeps young readers engaged as they try to figure out what will happen next.
In our favorite story, Dragon goes food shopping and reinvents the food groups: a bottle of ketchup, which he drinks, covers the fruit and vegetable group, and pork rinds cover the meat group. (Personally, I don't see anything wrong with that, but my wife and daughters tell me this is incorrect). Strangely, Dragon also gets groceries that cover the chocolate group, which I'm pretty sure was overlooked on the food pyramid. But this is just one example of the quirky humor Pilkey uses in the Dragon books to keep kids and grownups reading — and chuckling — along. So go look in on Dragon's world, I think he'll bring a smile.