Henry and Mudge: The First Book
Rylant, Cynthia, pictures by Sucie Stevenson. Henry and Mudge: The first Book. A Ready-to-read book, level 2, ISBN 0-689-81005-9.
I enjoyed this book because it resonated with my own childhood. I remember saying to my parents, “I want a sister. And I want her now!” I ended up with a cat and, while not a sister, I was still quite pleased. The cat gave me something to hug. Unlike a stuffed animal which doesn’t respond, the cat does. The cat also gave me something to love. I had to take care of her. I was responsible for making sure she was fed. (Thankfully my parents took care of the litter box). I suspect all children feel alone at some point – even if they do have siblings – so this story would be appealing to most. I think it is an appropriate beginner reader for children because each story builds on the next (they are cohesive), the book itself is a good size (not too small and not too large), the pictures are simple and don’t overwhelm the text, the print is a good size and evenly spaced, and it’s a nice story about friendship. I am a little put off by the “Level 2” in the top right corner of the cover. I’m not sure I agree with the idea of levels for reading. On the one hand they can help guide parents. On the other, they can stop people from selecting a book that they think might be too difficult or too easy.