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Saturday, December 3, 2016

Up by Joe Cepeda


Our guest blogger today is Susan Kusel, a librarian, children's book buyer and selector at an independent bookstore, and the owner of a children's book consulting company. She has served on the Maryland Blue Crab Young Reader Award committee, the Cybils Easy Readers and Early Chapter Book Awards committee, the 2015 Caldecott Medal selection committee, and she is currently a member of the Sydney Taylor Book Award committee. She blogs at Wizards Wireless


Photo from HolidayHouse.com
The book cover begs a second look. It invites us to open this book to find out what on earth is happening in this delightfully upside down world.  

The gusts of wind propel each page turn, starting with the cover, moving through the endpapers and into the body of the book. The stage is set and we know that we are in for a blustery day.

This is truly a book for an early reader. The font is black, clear and easy to read. All the text (except for one sentence) is against plain, white backgrounds.

There are twelve unique words in the book, and each one is short, no longer than one syllable or five letters.  No sentence is longer than four words. Words and phrases are repeated. Clear visual clues are present when new words are introduced.

The illustrations and the story carry us along from start to finish, because we have no idea what will happen to this euphoric child floating through the air with his magic pinwheel. Despite the simple text, we are compelled to find out what happens next.

It remains to be seen if the Geisel committee will consider this book distinguished. But if you have very early readers in your life, I hope you take a look at this book and enjoy the ride.

4 comments:

  1. I'm not sure if the book is more distinguished as compared to every other book out there, but it will always have a special place in my heart as the first book my kindergartner ever read by himself. It was indeed perfect for him as a very beginning, barely emergent reader, with very simple sentences and illustrations that were interesting (he was very intrigued by the flying around) but also supported the text. (I was so excited when he actually paused before reading "hen" instead of saying "chicken" which was clearly what he'd expected it say - I had been worried that once he realized the pattern of words he was just substituting the name of the animal pictured on that page, but he was feeling confident enough to take another look.)

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  2. I'm not sure if the book is more distinguished as compared to every other book out there, but it will always have a special place in my heart as the first book my kindergartner ever read by himself. It was indeed perfect for him as a very beginning, barely emergent reader, with very simple sentences and illustrations that were interesting (he was very intrigued by the flying around) but also supported the text. (I was so excited when he actually paused before reading "hen" instead of saying "chicken" which was clearly what he'd expected it say - I had been worried that once he realized the pattern of words he was just substituting the name of the animal pictured on that page, but he was feeling confident enough to take another look.)

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  3. Alys, what a wonderful story! Thank you so much for sharing your kindergartner's success reading UP. That moment of differentiation between "hen" and "chicken" will resonate with anyone who has worked with beginning readers (or has their own new reader at home). I imagine that the Geisel committee will be looking at the pattern that you mentioned, and the experiences of readers like your son certainly factor into their consideration. My congratulations to your son on his reading successes this year!

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  4. Alys- thank you for commenting! What a lovely story. The first book a child reads to themselves will always be a special one. I remember how excited I was when watching my own children.

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