CM . . . . Volume XVIII Number 7 . . . . October 14, 2011
This early reader focuses on Jet, a dog that plays fetch with his family but brings back things other than the toy thrown for him. Once Jet finally brings back his toy, he gets his family laughing --- and wet.
Initially, I did not enjoy the text or the illustrations in Oh, Jet! overmuch. However, after reading the book several times with my three-year-old son, I saw how engaged he was with the story, and I had to revisit and revise my first impression.
By the end of the book, my son was saying, "Oh, Jet!" with the correct intonation that the people in the book would use when talking to the dog. Also, he was fascinated by details of the illustrations which I had originally overlooked, namely the birds, the starfish, and the crab, which appear on most of the pages. My son asked many questions about what the characters in the book were doing, and he made his own inferences based solely on the illustrations. The illustrations actually richly enhance the simple text with interesting detail and bright colours. Even the dog's toy is smartly coloured a bright purple so that it stands out on the page, making it easy for the reader to find and making it unlikely that the reader will mistake it for another item or creature on the page.
Oh, Jet! includes a list of words used in the story which could be used in lesson planning or just for informational purposes and, as well, a "Puzzle Time" section at the back of the book (Can you find these pictures in the story? Which pages are the pictures from?). There is an answer key as well as notes to adults containing suggestions of discussions and activities to use with this book, such as using the jumbled picture puzzle to retell the story in the child's own words, or relating the story to the child’s own experiences.
As many children do like dogs and have experiences with them, even if only seeing a dog play from a distance, early readers will likely relate to this story in some way. The fact that the dog makes mistakes is also something to which kids can relate and may find humourous. Another positive feature of this book is that the mom, dad and child all participate in and enjoy their family outing.
After reading Oh, Jet! numerous times and examining it closely, I find that this book is a worthwhile text and an enjoyable one as well.
Karyn Miehl, a mother of two and a secondary school English teacher, lives in Kingsville, ON.
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