Rocket Writes a Story

Tad Hills. Random/Schwartz & Wade, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-375-87086-6
In a natural follow-up to How Rocket Learned to Read (2010), the black-and-white puppy with a 1950s crew cut and an irrepressible desire to learn adds writing to his skills. Rocket literally sniffs out new words that he and his teacher, the yellow bird from the first book, display on notes on the branches of a word tree (a project tailor-made for teachers looking for their next bulletin board), and the dog struggles to find a topic, create characters, and find inspiration for his story. Hills is adept at showing Rocket’s setbacks and successes (“When things were going well, he wagged his tail. When he didn’t know what to write, he growled”) while offering excellent tips for children following in the dog’s footsteps. “Remember, stories take time,” says the bird, who pushes Rocket to add details to his story and think about what his characters are like. Along the way, Hills gently demonstrates the power of stories to build bridges: a shy owl in a pine tree (the subject of Rocket’s story) gradually befriends Rocket as the dog shares his story with her. Ages 4–8. (July)
Reviewed on: 05/14/2012
Release date: 07/24/2012
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