________________ CM . . . . Volume XVI Number 30 . . . . April 9, 2010


Over the Moon! (Tadpoles).

Hilary Robinson. Illustrated by Jane Abbott.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2010.
24 pp., pbk. & hc., $7.95 (pbk.) $18.36 (RLB.).
ISBN 978-0-7787-3899-2 (pbk.), ISBN 978-0-7787-3868-8 (RLB.).

Subject Heading:
Readers (Primary).

Preschool-grade 2 / Ages 4-7.

Review by Devon Greyson.

**** /4


"Look!" said the cat.

"By the dish and

the spoon,
the Moon has

dropped out

of the sky!"


One evening, the cat and the cow decide to try to jump over the full moon in the sky. Much to the little dog's amusement, the pair cannot jump high enough. Luckily, the clever cat spots the moon reflected in a puddle on the ground, over which the cow can jump.

     Over the Moon! is one of Crabtree's "Tadpole" series of books for emerging readers. The story is under 100 words total, of which most are easy-to-read phonetic or sight words for beginning readers.

     Ample context is given for the few more difficult words (e.g., laughed), such that children are likely to work them out for themselves. The print is clear and large, with high contrast to the background and not too much text on any page.

     Paraphrasing a familiar nursery rhyme ("Hey Diddle Diddle") as a prose story is a great strategy for success with emerging readers who have background knowledge of the plot but limited reading experience. Additionally, Over the Moon! adds a twist at the end and an element of humour, both aspects often missing from limited-vocabulary, easy-reader books. Children (and adults) easily bored by repetitive entry-level readers will enjoy this story.

     The whimsical watercolour illustrations in deep, bold colours add to the fun of this story, with the pictures delivering the punch line (that the moon the cow jumps over is a reflection). As with any well-planned picture book for early readers, the illustrations add context clues to help decipher the text. Additionally, the anthropomorphic faces on the cartoonish characters are quite funny.

     Overall, Over the Moon! is a very well-designed early reader book. The text is appropriate and fun, the illustrations are silly and engaging, and the plot is familiar yet interesting. The hardcover edition reviewed had reinforced library binding in order to stand up well to heavy library or classroom use, and this book would be an excellent addition to a collection of bookshelf for early readers.

Highly Recommended.

Devon Greyson is a librarian at the Centre for Health Services and Policy Research in Vancouver, BC.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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