King of the Mountain!: Ready-to-Read Level 1

S. & S./Simon Spotlight. (Ready-to-Read). Jan. 2024. 32p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781665938709; pap. $4.99. ISBN: 9781665938693.
K-Gr 2–Who is king of this mountain? Or should the mountain have a queen instead? Which is better for declaring oneself the king or queen: arriving first or last? Children will relate to the kind of conflict presented in this story, in which endearing bugs argue over who will be the king of the mountain. In the end, all of the characters are friends, and an unexpected twist will leave readers pleasantly surprised. The text in this lighthearted and relatable story is presented entirely in speech bubbles, giving the feel of an “Elephant & Piggie” book. As is to be expected in early reader titles, the text is very simplistic; this contrasts with the inclusion of some difficult-to-decode words, such as “mountain,” “queen,” “excuse,” and “happening.” The juxtaposition may confuse or frustrate young children without adult support during reading. However, the majority of the text is high-frequency words, so there may be an opportunity for an instructor to focus on infrequent spelling patterns or word chunking with those more challenging additions. Illustrations are colorful and cute, and the story encourages literacy growth, making it a valuable addition to collections focused on decodable books.
VERDICT A cute early reader with the opportunity to solve more complex words. Recommended for collections in need of early, decodable books.

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