Great Illustrated Books


By Andrew Clements

Atheneum, 2009
Pages : 40
Suggested Ages: 4-9
ISBN: 1416996184

My own synopsis of the whole story, in haiku?

Little Rat Sets Sail . When Little Rat's parents sign her up for sailing lessons, she's afraid of everything: running down the hill, being out in the middle of the water in a floating bathtub, jumping in the water, and clipping on the jib, the sail at the front or bow of the boat. Of course she learns to conquer those fears, and becomes a proficient little sailor, thanks to her understanding and reassuring instructor, Buzzy Bear. Readers will examine the labeled painting of the sailboat and will absorb some sailing knowledge and vocabulary: mainsail, heeling, capsize, centerboard, tiller. In Little Rat Rides, she undertakes horseback riding.Stray dog on the porch.Mom and three kids fall for him,
Though he makes a mess.

Look at the inviting cover of a black-nosed, floppy-eared dog staring at you through the window of the storm door. Who wouldn't want to open the door and let such a winsome dog into their lives? Check out the endpapers, with little brown dogprints across the floor tiles. On the title page, you see the scraggly white mutt with wistful eyes trudging down the sidewalk. Then there's the first full-page painting, of Mom in her pink bathrobe, looking out through the kitchen door at the dog looking in:"There on the back steps,the eyes of a hungry dog.
Will she shut the door?"

Of course she won't. Mom feeds him and gives him a sudsy bath in the tub. The three kids, two boys and a girl are elated to discover a dog in the house. Dad has his hand to his head, looking bemused. The kids feed the eager pup scraps at the breakfast table: "A dog needs a name.
Rags? Mutt? Pooch? No, not Rover.
Mooch. Yes, Mooch! Perfect."

The three kids race off to catch the school bus, leaving Mooch with Mom. Left to his own devices while Mom is in the garden, he chews the laundry, and rolls in the trash from the kitchen. When Dad gets home, there's a family meeting of "words and words and words"-"Did someone say 'pound?'" Will dad let Mooch stay? Of course.

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If you love this book, then try:

Coffelt, Nancy. Fred Stays with Me! Little, Brown, 2007.

Crowley, Dave. Cat Poems. Wordsong/Boyds Mills, 2005.

Crowley, Dave. Dog Poems.Wordsong/Boyds Mills, 2007.

George, Kristine O'Connell. Hummingbird Nest: A Journal of Poems . Harcourt, 2004.

George, Kristine O'Connell. Little Dog Poems. Clarion, 1999.

Graham, Bob. "Let's Get a Pup!" Said Kate. Candlewick, 2001.

Grimes, Nikki. When Gorilla Goes Walking. Orchard, 2007.

Katz, Susan. Oh, Theodore: Guinea Pig Poems. Clarion, 2007.

Kirk, Daniel. Cat Power! Hyperion, 2007.

Kirk, Daniel. Dogs Rule! Hyperion, 2007.

McFarland, Lyn Rossiter. Widget. Farrar, 2001.

Prelutsky, Jack. If Not for the Cat. Greenwillow, 2004.

Simont, Marc. The Stray Dog. HarperCollins, 2001.

Critics have said

Doggone charming