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.

henry and mudge,  the first bookI 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.

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