...my mind about skinny chapter books.
I've been a little frustrated as I've read recent easy beginning readers, such as Mighty Monty, Uh-Oh Cleo, and Alvin Ho.
Many easy beginning readers follow a certain path: there's a young person who takes center stage, and each chapter shows us a different "chapter" of their life. So we see the karate lesson, the birthday party, the trip to the ER, and so forth.
I was starting feel like the characters were flat, the stories episodic, and the themes a little rote. I was worried that I was reading them with too much of a grown-up brain, and couldn't evaluate them fairly for 6-8 year old readers. After all, how much character, plot, and thematic development can you squeeze into a skinny book for a less than fluent reader? And what evaluative criteria should we use on such slender stories as a result?
Then I read How Oliver Olson Changed the World, from Colorado's own Claudia Mills.
Claudia Mills reminded me that thematic coherence, believable voices, generous humor, authentic character development, and real-life issues are all possible, even at 100 pages, tops. No, really! Read it and find out.
(Fuse liked it, too.)
Want to see her do all this in a picture book, too? Find Ziggy's Blue Ribbon Day.
Other great easy chapter books from Claudia Mills are 7 x 9 = Trouble and Being Teddy Roosevelt.