Can Clam Go?: Ready-to-Read Pre-Level 1

S. & S. (Shark Chums). Jun. 2022. 32p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781665907972; pap. $4.99. ISBN 9781665907965.
K-Gr 2–The first of the “Shark Chums” series, this lighthearted “Ready-to-Read” book will entertain emergent readers with an underwater party of sea creatures who get along swimmingly, thanks to a friendly, zippy shark. When Clam is left to sit on a seaweed-covered hill, morosely watching other fish race around, the fast-moving Shark slows down and helps Clam join the fun. Gregory’s digital illustrations detail the creatures’ movements with swirling brushes of white and washes of pale bubbles around the rounded, wide-eyed sea animals, finely outlined in black against the deep ocean blue. With design effects like repeated forms across the page, currents of painted line direction, and shifting perspectives to dramatically zoom in on the characters, the illustrations invite young readers to read across the pictures to understand and talk about story details, even those unexpressed in the text. Similar to the form of couplets, pairs of three-word sentences support fluency with a rhyming or repetitive flow, complete with practice reading sentence mechanics, such as commas, ellipses, and exclamation points. In fewer than eighty words, the story’s select collection of sight words combine with various short and long vowels and rhyme families to create a well-rounded independent or shared reading experience.
VERDICT Suitable for kindergarteners or first graders looking to model or strengthen their emerging skills.

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