It's Will's thirteenth birthday, and he still doesn't have any special powers. His classmates are leaving school one by one for places like wizardingIt's Will's thirteenth birthday, and he still doesn't have any special powers. His classmates are leaving school one by one for places like wizarding school and fairy academies, but Will and three other classmates remain behind with their increasingly exasperated teacher. She tries to get the day started with an assignment, but not longer after the morning announcements, a supervillain knocks down the wall to the classroom and takes everyone hostage. Though he never realizes it, Will's quick thinking and powers of deduction make him the true hero of the day.
This is one of the best children's short stories I have ever read. It has everything kids like - an underdog protagonist, superheroes, references to both Harry Potter and Magic Tree House, jokes about teachers, unexpected plot twists and a sense of humor. I first discovered it at the end of last school year, when I was searching for something to read on a fifth grade class visit. I read it again to another fifth grade class just recently, and both groups deemed the story "awesome" and broke out into applause at the end. Adam Rex's tongue-in-cheek tone talks to kids on their level, and the fact that almost the entire story is propelled by the actions of kids keeps them interested even as the story gets a bit lengthy. The surprises of the story are spread out throughout the text, so there is always an opportunity to renew the kids' interest every few pages. It's also helpful to read the story with no commentary at all at the beginning. It works best if they just settle in with no idea what's coming.
My favorite character, aside from Will, is the supervillain whose cartoonishly evil personality is just right for kids raised on comic books and Cartoon Network. Not only is it fun to watch the kids fight him off, it's just as fun to laugh at his weakness and foolishness, and his dialogue is truly brilliant, as is most of the dialogue throughout the story.
This short story is a good one for fans of Adam Rex, of course, as well as of authors like Tom Angleberger, Louis Sachar, and Gordon Korman, and for kids who love graphic novels and superhero comics. Though it's a guaranteed hit with boys, it also resonates with girls who tend to gasp loudly at the most exciting moments and who laugh at some of the jokes the boys miss while they're wrapped up in the action. ...more
Luke on the Loose is a TOON Book - a story for new readers told in comic format by Harry Bliss. At the park, Luke gets tired of listening to his fatheLuke on the Loose is a TOON Book - a story for new readers told in comic format by Harry Bliss. At the park, Luke gets tired of listening to his father’s boring adult conversation with a friend. Unable to take it any longer, he takes off after some pigeons, calling out “Yaaaaah!” as he goes. While his dad enlists the police to track him down, Luke knocks over a bicyclist, interrupts a marriage proposal, and finally climbs onto a roof to take a nap, creating a frenzy at every point on his journey.
Luke on the Loose is one of the best and funniest easy readers I have ever read. It captures not only the boredom of a child waiting for his parents to stop talking, but also the explosion of happiness associated with freedom from that boring situation. “Yaaah!” is the perfect sound for Luke to make - it tells us everything we need to know about his feelings, and it’s great fun to say out loud. All along the way, subtle comments from animals and people alike add to the humor of Luke’s wild run through the city. Pigeons call him “Coo Coo.” A cat peering out the window thinks to himself, “I’ll never let my kittens chase pigeons.” A mouse even suggests that Luke is just another city pest. These deadpan statements perfectly juxtapose the slapstick humor of the illustrations, making the laughs come that much faster.
Luke on the Loose reminds me a lot of Nina in That Makes Me Mad. Both celebrate the individuality of children, and celebrate their independence and emotions. Just as kids relate to the things that make Nina mad, they will relate to the fun of Luke’s sprint through the city and they will be comforted by his safe return to his parents in the end as well. Recommend Luke on the Loose to little ones with lots of energy, and laugh along with them! ...more
One of the most popular easy readers at my library is a Rookie Reader by Patricia and Frederick McKissack called Messy Bessey. It is a rhyming story aOne of the most popular easy readers at my library is a Rookie Reader by Patricia and Frederick McKissack called Messy Bessey. It is a rhyming story about the mess in a young girl’s bedroom, which she cleans up in order to make her room reflect her clean and beautiful self.
I think the subject matter in this book is appealing to both kids and adults, which might be one of the reasons this book is so frequently checked out from my branch library. Kids like to see just how messy one little girl can be, and parents like books that encourage good behavior and self-reliance. The illustrations are also endearing. Bessey is a cute little girl and her look of combined shame and surprise as she takes in each of her messes is subtle, but effective.
What puzzles me about the book, though, is the rhythm of the text. It starts out with a strong sense of rhyme and meter: “See colors on the wall, books on the chair, toys in the dresser drawer, and games everywhere.” A few pages later, though, it starts to unravel. There is a glaring omission of a comma on page 12 (“Bessey look at your room” instead of “Bessey, look at your room”), and the authors attempt to pass off “window” and “pillow” as rhyming words. The second half of the book is difficult to stumble through because the rhythm doesn’t match the pattern established in the first few pages. I also wonder why the book uses an alternative spelling of Bessey, when that extra E might throw off an uncertain or inexperienced reader.
Messy Bessey is a gentle story that preschoolers and emergent readers tend to love. Adults looking to branch out might try other tales of mess-making such as Karen Beaumont’s I Ain’t Gonna Paint No More, which has a great sense of rhyme and rhythm, and Mouse Mess by Linnea Riley. Though both are picture books, they have simple enough text for new readers to tackle, and the text in both stories is more precise and easier to read aloud....more
I love that this book gives a suggested motion for the kids to do in order to imitate each animal. It makes it a less practical choice for a baby storI love that this book gives a suggested motion for the kids to do in order to imitate each animal. It makes it a less practical choice for a baby story time, but it will work well with smaller toddler groups. I'm especially fond of the cute pig!