By Andrew Joyner
Branches (Scholastic), 2013. Originally published in Australia in 2011. 74 pages.
I don’t like it, but parents always expect us to keep our books organized by grade level. They come to the desk and ask, “Where are your books for second graders?” We have to explain that second graders fit a wide range of interests and reading abilities, and we give them some tips on how to look for books for their child (like bring the child with them).
However, I find I do appreciate the reading level information clearly stated on the cover of these new “Branches” books published by Scholastic. This one says on the back, “Appeals to K-2nd Graders” and “Reading Level Grade 2.”
Now, it does mean that you won’t ever catch a 3rd grader reading these books, which is a shame. But for a good book, full of pictures, to get a beginning reader used to chapters, this fills the bill.
In this first story about Boris, we’re introduced to Boris, his Mom and Dad, and his friends at school. Boris lives with his parents in an old bus, but the bus never goes anywhere. Boris dreams of adventure and complains to his parents. Then, one day, the bus moves!
But they don’t go to the jungle or on an African safari. Instead, they stop at Greater Hogg Bay Conservation Park. Not what Boris had in mind! But Boris manages to have an adventure anyway.
This is kid-sized fun that children can read to themselves. The book is not a graphic novel, but there are lots of pictures, and all the dialogue is written with speech bubbles instead of “he said” “she said.” Boris is a warthog, though like a child in every way. But pictures of warthogs acting like people are far more entertaining than pictures of people would be.
A quality addition to beginning chapter books.
Find this review on Sonderbooks at: www.sonderbooks.com/Childrens_Fiction/boris_on_the_move.html
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Source: This review is based on a library book from Fairfax County Public Library.
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