Anna Goes to Zambia

978-1-4333-5495-3. ea vol: 20p. (Fiction Readers Series). Teacher Created Materials. 2013. pap. $4.99.
K-Gr 2—These books are designed for early-intervention-level or beginning readers. The back covers also list grade level equivalents, word counts, guided reading levels, and DRA levels. In Anna, a girl finds an atlas in her attic and takes imaginary visits to places around the world in alphabetical order. This book stretches the geography knowledge of first graders and may make points too mature for them to enjoy. Safari Camp is about a lioness who makes all the other animals brush their teeth before going to bed. Callen provides humor by describing different types of toothbrushes the various animals use, including a doughnut-shaped brush the flamingo uses to brush her beak. The best of the group is Speak Up!, a collection of very short poems. They are clever and easy to read with humorous illustrations. In It's Good Enough to Eat, children find creative ways to make things out of their fruits and vegetables before eating them. It might spark interest in consuming more healthy food, but is also likely to encourage a lot of food play. Parents will need to find the right balance for the dinner table. Paul Bunyan will appeal to young readers because they have probably heard a tall tale about the character before. The absurdity creates humor, and children will like reading about a blue ox that is the giant woodsman's faithful companion. More appropriate to a classroom library than a school or public library, these titles are better than many books for beginning readers, yet they are not outstanding.—Mary Hazelton, formerly at Warren & Waldoboro Elementary Schools, ME

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