|Image from Bloomsbury US Kids|
The books are very appealing to kids: Garbage! Dogs! Pirates! Stinky cheese! I would certainly recommend them as library purchases.
The question is, for the purposes of this blog, would I recommend them to the Geisel committee?
That is trickier to answer.
The subject matter is definitely intriguing. The beginning reader I read it with couldn't wait to find out what happened next. The plot kept moving forward and the story developed. The illustrations are clear and reflect what is happening in the story. They also provide visual clues to the text.
All of that meets the Geisel criteria. So, why am I hesitating?
It’s because of the words.
Although these are obviously books for more advanced readers, they fit the Geisel page requirements. The font size and spacing indicate they are books for children learning to read.
Clearly, the words are going to be harder in these books (they are what most publishers would probably categorize as a Level 3 book) than in something more basic like Elephant and Piggie.
Yet, given that, the words are still too hard. Uncommon words such as: pricklefish, methinks, blimey, blundering, etc. are real challenges to kids at this reading level. The sentences are difficult and unclear. A lot of the challenging words are only used once, without repetition to help the reader learn the words.
All of this adds to the charm and flavor of the books, and makes them work for many other reasons, just not in the Geisel context.