February 20, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Barkus by Patricia MacLachlan | SLJ Review

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redstarMACLACHLAN, Patricia. Barkus. illus. by Marc Boutavant. 56p. ebook available. Chronicle. Jun. 2017. Tr $14.99. ISBN 9781452111827.

CH-MacLachlan-BarkusGr 1-3 –MacLachlan has taken her love of animal stories and created an engaging early chapter book for young readers. This is the tale of a family caring for Barkus, a big brown dog given to them by a favorite uncle. Each chapter finds Barkus and Nicky, his young owner, embarking on silly adventures, from a raucous dog birthday party to an overnight campout. Kids will immediately take to Barkus, an affectionate, gentle family pet with a distinct personality, while the bright, animated illustrations bring the characters to life. The narrative is ideal for emergent readers wanting the challenge of a first chapter book, as well as reluctant older readers looking for a fun selection as they strengthen their skills. MacLachlan has published numerous books with animal characters of late, and this is a refreshing take on the beloved family pet tale. Librarians will appreciate a strong chapter book option for early readers, who too often have to settle for half-hearted storytelling in exchange for skill practice. Further adventures are promised with a second title due in 2018. VERDICT Charming characters and enjoyable storytelling will hold the attention of kids as they build their reading skills. A top pick for chapter book collections.–Casey O’Leary, Mooresville Public Library, IN

This review was published in the School Library Journal February 2017 issue.

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