CM . . .
. Volume XII Number 11 . . . . February 3, 2006
The Big Tree Gang is an early reader “chapter” book with a collection of six stories about twins, Keely and Reg, and their friends, Burt and Shawna. Each chapter features a stand-alone story that is linked to the others by the nature-loving twins’ adventures in the great outdoors. Keely and Reg are very likeable characters: Keely composes endearing impromptu songs, and Reg has a collection of rocks and boundless good ideas. By creating such a likeable boy-girl twin pair, Bogart has written a book with both boy and girl appeal.
This book is ideal for young readers venturing into chapter reading. It features short sentences with chapters six or seven pages long including plenty of illustrations to break up the text. Since each chapter is non-sequential, young readers could read chapters randomly without losing the meaning of the stories.
The pencilled illustrations, drawn by Dean Griffiths, are quite wonderful. Griffiths depicts Keely and Reg as skunks while Burt is a possum and Shawna, a rabbit. But, if it weren’t for the illustrations showing the four characters as furry creatures, readers could quite naturally picture the Big Tree Gang as children like themselves. Bogart has the twins interacting just as every set of human siblings does as they learn about sharing, playing together and appreciating the things that each other loves.
Saache Heinrich is a children’s services librarian for the Saskatoon Public Library in Saskatoon, SK.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.