Little Critter's Read It Yourself Storybook

Mercer Mayer, Author Golden Books $17.95 (192p) ISBN 978-0-307-16840-5
Fans of Little Critter will be in hog heaven here with Mayer's latest outing, a series of half a dozen escapades featuring the furry hero, all thoughtfully designed for beginning readers. The stories are culled from the pages of everyday life, and focus on events and situations familiar to every young reader--sibling rivalry, a birthday party, friendship, the first day of school, a sleep-over and so on. Mayer's greatest strength is the dry, understated humor he injects into his work, humor that is not entirely lost on young readers and that adults lassoed into read-aloud sessions will thoroughly appreciate. Here, the text plays straight-man to his waggish illustrations. One scene, for example, depicts a clearly beleaguered schoolbus driver chauffeuring a busload of raucous critters: ``The bus is full. The driver is quiet. But we are not. We are having fun.'' Mayer's illustrations are straight out of Norman Rockwell Critterland, and although one might quibble with the gender stereotypes that are reinforced (mom rarely appears without an apron; little sis prefers dolls to anything else), this is outweighed by the good-natured warmth and sheer fun of the six stories. Staccato sentences and a carefully selected vocabulary make this collection just the ticket for enticing fledgling readers. Ages 5-7. (May)
Reviewed on: 12/04/2000
Release date: 12/01/2000
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