cover image Born to Read

Born to Read

Judy Sierra, , illus. by Marc Brown. . Knopf, $16.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-375-84687-8

A precocious tot with a carrot-orange cowlick turns into a reading superstar in this whimsical tale with a hammer-it-home message about reading. Young audiences should enjoy the silliness factor that increases with each turn of the page. After toddlerhood, Sam reads books about “good nutrition, grand ambition,/ playing fair,/ and bike repair” and goes on to win an adult cycling race. He later vanquishes the baby giant Grundaloon (a reference to Beowulf 's Grendel?) by calming him down with a few stories and a bite to eat. “And while the giant ate his snack up,/ Sam discreetly called for backup.” Conventionally rhymed couplets—used in Sierra and Brown's previous collaboration, Wild AboutBooks —return here; the rich vocabulary gives the story a jaunty tempo, as do the appealing full-color gouache cartoon illustrations, filled with bouncy polka-dot motifs. Brown's fans will recognize his signature round, wide-eyed faces in this story's human cast. Numerous childhood favorites make appearances, e.g., Chicka Chicka Boom Boom , Pat the Bunny , even an Arthur book. Not leaving the moral up to supposition, Sierra spells it out more than once: “Readers win and/ winners read” and “Yes, readers can/ go anyplace!” Ages 4-8. (Aug.)