Commander Toad and the Intergalactic Spy. K.

Yolen, Jane. Commander Toad and the Intergalactic Spy. K. 1986.

Commander Toad and his loyal crew of amphibians must rescue his cousin, the famous spy Tip Toad, from a spy training planet—if they can figure out which spy is really Tip Toad! The goofy spies and their funny schemes and scenarios are quite funny, but many of the pop-culture puns are very dated (Laugh-In, anyone?) and will go far over heads.

TAGS: Fiction, science fiction, outer space, aliens, spies, commander toad, puns, funny, k

Dinosaur Fun Facts. F.

INFO: Keller, Ellen. Dinosaur Fun Facts. F. 1997.

DESC: This easy-to-read introduction to dinosaur life is an interesting starting point for early readers. The full-page illustrations literally act out the one sentence that graces each page. Students will definitely struggle with “real” dinosaur names, given here in full (e.g. “heterodontosaurus”) – these moments may be good opportunities to practice breaking unknown words down into chunks.

TAGS: dinosaurs, non-fiction, ancient reptiles, museums, easy readers, easy reads, K

The Gingerbread Man. K.

INFO: Smith, Annette. The Gingerbread Man. K. 1997.

DESC: Yet another classic-fables-retold-as-levelled-reading, with-a-play-at-the-end! This book is fantastic for resistant readers: it pairs the familiar plotline of the Gingerbread Man fable with dynamic, often quite funny illustrations; and the surprise and joy of the moment when the clever fox outfoxes the witty, rebellious Gingerbread Man (much to the shock of the Old Man and Woman) genuinely keeps kids engaged. As with the other fable-and-play books, these are wonderful transitions from shorter, less complicated leveled readers since they have a number of sentences on each page; but the character development and plotline are so simple and familiar that they build confidence with each turn of the page.

TAGS: fables, plays, gingerbread man, easy readers, easy reads, K?, fiction, fox stories, trickster tales

The Animal Band. K?

INFO: Smith, Annette. The Animal Band. K?. 1998.

DESC: Another of the classic animal fables retold in simple leveled language, with a play at the end! Children may be quite familiar with the “Brementown Singers” tale, which makes this easy-to-read leveled story a great and wordier transition from the earlier reading levels. The repetitive plotline (each animal leaves its home because it has become too old to do its appointed job) and interesting “lesson” helps carry readers along – and it leaves lots of room for good discussion. Although the characters aren’t too well developed and seem interchangeable (typical fable), The Animal Band is a fantastic introduction to setting, plot, and theme – and especially setting, since the world in which the story is set (rural; largely reliant on animal labor, &c.) is so different from our own.

TAGS: fables, Aesop’s fables, animal band, animals, farm, farming, rural, singing, adventure, play, K, fiction