________________ CM . . . . Volume XVIII Number 5. . . .September 30, 2011


Bill's Bike. (Tadpoles).

Andy Blackford. Illustrated by Hannah Wood.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2011.
24 pp., pbk. & hc., $7.95 (pbk.), $18.36 (RLB.).
ISBN 978-0-7787-0586-4 (pbk.), ISBN 978-0-7787-0575-8 (RLB).

Preschool-grade 2 / Ages 4-7.

Review by John Dryden.

*** /4


Alan and the Animals. (Tadpoles).

Evelyn Foster. Illustrated by Richard Morgan.
St. Catharines, ON: Crabtree, 2011.
24 pp., pbk. & hc., $7.95 (pbk.), $18.36 (RLB.).
ISBN 978-0-7787-0584-0 (pbk.), ISBN 978-0-7787-0573-4 (RLB).

Subject Headings:
Zoo animals-Juvenile fiction. Zoo keepers-Juvenile fiction.

Preschool-grade 2 / Ages 4-7.

Review by John Dryden.

*** /4



Bill rode and rode and rode.
'I only need one wheel!" he said. (From
Bill's Bike.)

Alan loves animals, and from dawn until dark... Alan works in an animal park! (From
Alan and the Animals.)


Bill's Bike is a humourous tale about a boy who removes one wheel at a time from his bicycle only to learn that one wheel does not help him travel anywhere (without spoiling this book for you, it is not a unicycle).

      Bill is learning to ride a bike. He starts with training wheels. His father keeps removing wheels from his bike as Bill requests. Eventually, Bill realizes that one wheel is not enough for the bicycle to operate properly, and he resumes riding with two wheels.

      The book is illustrated by Hannah Wood who has created a very charming and humourous accompaniment for the simple, repetitive text written by Andy Blackford.

      In Alan and the Animals, Alan has bats, rats, cats, hogs, dogs, a snake, and frogs! Where does he keep such a stable of pets? The riddle of where Alan keeps all his animals is solved in this cheerful book. It turns out Alan works at an animal park. Illustrator Richard Morgan has created an whimsical group of illustrations to go along with Evelyn Foster's text..

      The books have little challenges at the end that ask the reader to see if s/he can find the page number that certain illustrations are located on as well as match the illustrations to ones in the books. There is a list of activities for parents to carry out on the final page (see criticism below). Overall the books are entertaining and carry out their goal to "develop confidence and encourage reading and rereading for pleasure."

      One criticism: The number three suggestion in 'Notes for adults' (found in the back of this series) is to "Look at the list of words on page two. Can the child identify most of the words?" Page two is the most visually unappealing in the book, and the list of words is in a very small typeface imprisoned below the book publishing and cataloguing information. Why has the word list been treated so poorly?

      Bill's Bike and Alan and the Animals are part of Crabtree's "Tadpoles"' reading series. These books, although intended to be purchased as part of a guided reading program, are quite charming and could be used for any home, school or classroom library for the emerging reader


John Dryden is a teacher in BC's Cowichan Valley.

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

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