Hot Rod Hamster and the Wacky Whatever Race!

Hot Rod Hamster LOVES to drive superfast. And today he’s building a box car from scratch to race downhill in the Wacky Whatever Race. He needs to pick out a box, wheels, and a paint color for his car. Can you help him? 

With the same bouncing rhythms, fun choice rhymes, and daredevil antics that made the picture book so popular, this original Level 2 reader will be a sturdy stepping-stone for Hot Rod Hamster fans as well as series newcomers as they move on to independent reading. The years Cynthia Lord spent as a first-grade teacher have given her the perfect sense of what language and storylines work best for emerging readers. This new adventure skillfully emphasizes word families and rhyming structures with pedal-to-the-metal flare!  

Join Hot Rod Hamster as he builds his race car with help from his friends, Dog, and three mice. To keep readers engaged, they are asked to help Hot Rod Hamster decide what items he should use to build his race car. For example, which type of box should be used—a big box, a long box, a tall box, or a small box? Which would you choose?  

On the day of the exciting race, Hot Rod Hamster’s car starts to slow down. Young readers will love how the creative hamster finds a way to stay in the race. 

To make the story accessible to young readers, the story uses simple sentences and illustrations on every page. Each page has a large illustration that uses primary colors. Humor is added through the characters’ facial expressions. Hot Rod Hamster’s three mice friends also appear on every page. Even though they’re small, they help build the car and cheer for Hot Rod Hamster as he runs the race. 

Hot Rod Hamster will win the hearts of young readers as he races to the finish line. The fast-paced story teaches readers about shapes, sizes, and colors in a way that makes learning fun. Young readers will be eager to read all of the books in the Hot Rod Hamster Series. For more hamster fun, check out Pets on the Loose! by Victoria Jamieson and Max & Mo Make a Snowman by Patricia Lakin. 

Sexual Content 

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Violence 

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Drugs and Alcohol 

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Language 

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Supernatural 

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Spiritual Content 

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The Christmas Tree Who Loved Trains

In a far-off corner of a tree farm, beside a train track, sits a solitary pine. There are no other trees to keep this pine tree company. The noisy rumbling of each passing train scares squirrels from climbing onto the tree’s branches and birds from nesting there. But this tree doesn’t mind.  

Having grown up beside the train track, the pine tree loves the trains. They are the only company she needs. One morning, a little boy visits the farm looking for a Christmas tree. To the pine’s surprise, the boy picks her. Before the pine tree knows it, she is dug out from the ground and taken to the boy’s house, where she is placed in a dark and cramped corner of the living room. Will being separated from the trains be too much for the tree? Or will she find something new with the boy and his family? 

The Christmas Tree Who Loved Trains is a charming and heartfelt story for readers who celebrate the holiday, as well as for anyone who has to adjust to a big change in their life. With one to eight short sentences per page, younger readers should have little trouble enjoying the book.  

Annie Silvestro’s writing manages the near-impossible task of getting readers to empathize with a faceless pine tree. Illustrator Paola Zakimi gives readers a closer understanding of the tree with drawings that visualize the tree’s feelings towards the events of the story. For example, each train emerges from a majestic, mysterious fog. The train and track are drawn with meticulous detail, while the field of trees behind the pine tree fades into a smaller, muted background. Meanwhile, the living room corner is drawn as dark and dull, with faded colors and shadowy backgrounds. As the tree warms up to the family and their house, the drawings of the room become increasingly brighter and colorful.  

In The Christmas Tree Who Loved Trains, readers of all ages will find a sweet and sincere story about adjusting to change and embracing your unique traits and interests. Readers who celebrate Christmas are sure to relate to the tree’s growing admiration for the holiday, and all readers are likely to find comfort in the tree’s story. If you are looking for a warm read this winter, The Christmas Tree Who Loved Trains may be the book for you. 

Sexual Content 

  • None 

Violence 

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Drugs and Alcohol 

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Language 

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Supernatural 

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Spiritual Content 

  • Although the book is a celebration of Christmas, it does not define the holiday as a strictly spiritual one. Instead, Christmas is portrayed as a day for being together with the ones you love. 

Bulldozer Helps Out

The construction site bustled.
Cement Truck was stirring . . . stirring . . . stirring.
Digger Truck was scooping . . . scooping . . . scooping.
Crane Truck was lifting . . . lifting . . . lifting. 

It’s a busy day at the construction site! Everyone is stirring, scooping, and lifting, and Bulldozer is . . . watching. Bulldozer wants to help, but can he handle a rough, tough job for a rough, tough truck? When Bulldozer gets his chance, the whole team is in for a big surprise.  

Readers will instantly connect with Bulldozer, who just wants to help. However, when Bulldozer offers to help, he gets a variety of answers: “You’ll get hurt,” or, “You’re too little.” Finally, the other trucks give Bulldozer a job. However, at the end of the day when the trucks go to check on Bulldozer, they discover that “he hadn’t done a single thing they’d asked!” The surprise ending will delight young readers and show that Bulldozer is up for a “rough, tough job!” 

Bulldozer Helps Out uses simple illustrations and bold colors that will captivate readers by making Bulldozer and the other trucks seem like friends. Each page has a full-page illustration and three to nine sentences. Despite this, readers will not become bored by the story because many of the sentences use fun elements such as alliteration, dialogue, and truck sounds.  

Bulldozer Helps Out shows readers that sometimes being rough and tough means being caring. The fun story will have wide appeal because Bulldozer is a relatable character with a conflict that young children will empathize with. For more truck-related books, rumble to the library and pick up a copy of Go, Go, Trucks! by Jennifer Liberts 

Sexual Content 

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Violence 

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Drugs and Alcohol 

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Language 

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Supernatural 

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Spiritual Content 

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Exploring Flight

Why do airplanes look the way they do? Why can’t birds fly when they’re first born? And why do some paper planes fly farther than others?

Exploring Flight is the perfect nonfiction resource for all these questions and more. Discover everything there is to know about flight from Ada Twist, Scientist—from information about creatures that fly, to the history of aircraft, to modern technology that allows us to soar through the air faster than ever.

Fans of Ada Twist who are interested in flight will enjoy reading Exploring Flight and learning about how an object flies because of thrust, drag, lift, and weight. However, some readers may become frustrated by the quickly changing topics. For example, the text includes a poem written by Ada, brainstorming ideas and questions that Ada has. One page asks, “What could make a penguin fly?” The brainstorming answers include the following. “1. Wear a hat with a propeller. 2. I could make parrot wings for them to flap, flap, flap. 3. Buy a ticket on South Pole Airlines.”

The book’s format will appeal to young readers because each page includes large pictures, Ada’s drawings, and brightly colored fonts. The informational text appears in type and the important terms are in bold font. However, the bolded words are not always defined and there is no glossary. To distinguish Ada’s thoughts and questions, they appear in brown font that looks like handwriting. Many of Ada’s ideas add a little silliness to the topic. For example, Ada wonders “If a cat toots, will it scoot? If it toots a lot, will it fly to the moon?”

Exploring Flight will teach readers about many different aspects of flight and includes information about planes, birds, rockets, spiders and hot air balloons. There are also several pages that list important people such as Paul Cornu, who invented the first helicopter model. In addition, the back of the book includes two fun science experiments that will excite younger readers.

If your little reader wonders why things are able to fly, then Exploring Flight will delight. The book uses kid-friendly examples to help explain difficult concepts. Plus, the nonfiction book has plenty of fun illustrations as well as pictures from the Netflix Series. The text is broken up into manageable sections with one to seven sentences per page. However, readers may need help understanding some of the complex ideas. Exploring Flight mixes a little silliness in with fun facts to teach readers all about flight. To learn about different scientists readers should also read the picture book series Amazing Scientists by Julia Finley Mosca. Another excellent picture book series that will pique reader’s interest in space flight is Mousetronaut by Mark Kelly.

Sexual Content

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Violence

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 Drugs and Alcohol

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Language

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Supernatural

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Spiritual Content

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Amelia Earhart

When Amelia was young, she liked to imagine she could stretch her wings and fly away like a bird. As a grown woman, she set a new female world record for flying up to 14,000 feet. She also flew across the Atlantic and the Pacific oceans, and eventually undertook the most dangerous mission of all: to fly all the way around the world.

As part of the Little People, Big Dreams Series, Amelia Earhart retells the story of Amelia Earhart in a picture book format. Each two-page spread has one to two simple sentences that are easy to read. Another positive aspect of Amelia Earhart is the brightly colored illustrations. The simple illustrations are whimsical and beautiful. For example, one page features the ocean where a huge whale swims; Amelia flies over the whale, making her plane look tiny in comparison.

Because the picture book is intended for young readers, Amelia’s life is not explored in detail. However, the biography explains enough of Amelia’s accomplishments to show Amelia didn’t allow obstacles to stand in the way of her dreams. The back of the book also has a short timeline of Amelia’s life and includes four historical photos. There is also a list of other books about Amelia Earhart as well as a list of other books in the Little People, Big Dreams Series.

 Amelia Earhart’s story highlights her amazing accomplishments in a kid friendly format that won’t overwhelm young readers. Beginning readers will enjoy learning about Amelia’s bravery as she flew “thousands of miles, over oceans and jungles and over the savanna, where giraffes turned their heads.” By reading Amelia’s story, readers will learn that dreams do come true. Readers who are interested in flight should also read the picture book Wood, Wire, Wings: Emma Lilian Todd Invents an Airplane by Kirsten W. Lawson.

Sexual Content

  • None

Violence

  • Although the book doesn’t explain Amelia Earhart’s plane crash, it does say that “she flew on like a bird, farther than anyone had gone before. . . never to return.”

 Drugs and Alcohol

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Language

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Supernatural

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Spiritual Content

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Ty’s Travels: Lab Magic

Corey and Ty take an exciting trip to the museum, where they get to be scientists. First, they study bugs. Then, they study the wind. Ty is disappointed when he discovers that he is too little to do science experiments at the museum. But Ty doesn’t let that spoil his day.

Once Corey and Ty get home, Momma helps them set up a science experiment that is perfect for younger kids. Before they begin, Corey and Ty make sure they are safe by putting on a lab coat (Dad’s shirt), goggles, and gloves. With their parents’ help, Corey and Ty learn that they like being scientists.

Lab Magic is part of the My First I Can Read Series, which uses basic language, word repetition, and illustrations that are ideal for emergent readers. Each page has one to four simple sentences with large, brightly colored illustrations. The illustrations will introduce different types of science such as using test tubes or learning about butterflies. Plus, the pictures will help young readers understand the plot.

Young readers who are learning how to read will enjoy Lab Magic. The short sentences and large illustrations make the story accessible to emergent readers. Like the other books in Ty’s Travels Series, Lab Magic shows Ty’s two-parent family in a positive light. Readers will enjoy learning about Ty’s adventure and all of the different ways science can be studied. For more science fun, check out Cece Loves Science by Kimberly Derting & Shelli R. Johannes.

Sexual Content

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Violence

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 Drugs and Alcohol

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Language

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Supernatural

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Spiritual Content

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Go, Go, Trucks!

A brother and sister use their imagination as they find all different kinds of trucks—big trucks, small trucks, trucks in snow, and trucks in the dirt. When they go for a ride with their dad, they see even more trucks! These two siblings can’t get enough of trucks. If your young readers love trucks of all kinds, then Go, Go Trucks is the perfect book for them.

Go, Go Trucks is intended to be read by preschool and kindergarten aged children. With big font, easy words, and rhyming, this book will introduce readers to different types of trucks. Most of the pages have one simple sentence such as, “Yummy food truck!” Plus, the fun, full-page illustrations help the reader understand the words. While the story does not have a typical plot, readers will love seeing all the different types of trucks. From toy trucks to fire trucks, readers will discover that trucks have all different purposes.

Young readers will enjoy the illustrations of different types of trucks including food trucks, garbage trucks, and snowplows. The book doesn’t give information about the trucks, but young readers will still enjoy the illustrations. Plus, the low word count makes Go, Go Truck a quick read-aloud book for busy parents.

Sexual Content

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Violence

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 Drugs and Alcohol

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Language

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Supernatural

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Spiritual Content

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Otis  

 

Otis is a special tractor. He loves his farm and he loves his farmer. He particularly loves the little calf in the next stall, who he purrs to sleep with his soft motor. The two become great friends, romping in the fields, leaping bales of hay, and playing ring-around-the-rosy by Mud Pond.

But when the big yellow tractor comes to the farm and replaces Otis, he is cast away to rust behind the barn—until the little calf gets stuck in Mud Pond. Then, there is only one tractor (and it’s not the big or yellow one) that saves the day. It’s little Otis!

Young readers will enjoy seeing Otis and the calf romp around the farm. The two friends clearly care for each other, and Otis’ facial expressions are packed with emotion and easy to read. When the calf gets stuck in the mud, a lot of people show up to help the calf—and some people just show up to watch the events unfold. Several people, the big yellow tractor, and the firetruck all try to help the calf, but in the end, Otis becomes the hero.

The background of each illustration is done in soft grays, which allows Otis’s and the animal’s colors to pop on the page. Even though Otis is a picture book, the story is intended to be read aloud to a child rather than for the child to read it for the first time independently. The onomatopoeias make the story fun to read aloud. Each page has 2 to 5 sentences; however, some of the sentences are complex.

Young readers who are fascinated by tractors will love being introduced to Otis, who looks after the farm animals. While the story focuses on Otis, many of the pages also have a gaggle of geese that like to play with Otis and the little calf. The cute story is easy to understand and highlights the importance of friendship. Readers interested in more farm-related stories should check out I’ll Love You Till the Cows Come Home by Kathryn Cristaldi.

Sexual Content

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Violence

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 Drugs and Alcohol

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Language

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Supernatural

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Spiritual Content

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Arthur’s Tractor: A Fairy Tale with Mechanical Parts

One day, Arthur is out plowing the green fields into brown with a mighty tractor. Does he notice that a fair maiden is running for her life right behind him? Not a chance. Does he notice the dragon? Or the knight?

The only thing he does notice is his “broken” tractor! Little does Arthur realize that he is heading for a fairy tale ending himself. With action and details to discover on every page, this picture book will captivate every knight and princess in your kingdom . . . or backyard!

Arthur’s Tractor is the perfect book to read aloud because it’s full of funny dialogue and onomatopoeia. For example, while the princess is under attack, she makes many different sounds such as “EEEK!” Arthur thinks that his tractor is to blame for the odd sounds, and he’s determined to make his tractor as good as new. At one point, Arthur wonders, “Well, bless my blisters, whatever can that THUD THUD THUD be?”

While Arthur inspects his tractor, a battle is going on right behind him. Behind the green and brown fields that Arthur is plowing, there is a princess in pink, a brave knight, and a huge dragon. Plus, several animals, including a frog and a squirrel, are fighting over a golden egg. Readers will love looking at the detailed illustrations that are packed full of action.

In the end, the princess proves that girls can love tractors as much as anyone. After helping Arthur fix the tractor, the princess says, “Now pass me that can, and I’ll oil that coil bolt brandisher before the dang things bangles free.” Each page of the picture book has 1 to 6 sentences. Because of the colloquial language, and complex sentences, young readers will need an adult to read the story to them.

Arthur’s Tractor will appeal to anyone who loves tractors and fairytales. Young readers will laugh at the silly antics of the fairytale characters and enjoy the unique conclusion that shows the princess driving the tractor as “they all lived happily ever after.”

Sexual Content

  • None

Violence

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 Drugs and Alcohol

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Language

  • “Dang” is used once.

Supernatural

  • None

Spiritual Content

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Ty’s Travels: All Aboard

Ty is ready to play, but everyone is busy. Daddy is cooking. Mommy is folding clothes and brother is doing homework. Even though no one can play with him, Ty decides to use his imagination and take a trip on a train. Soon, everyone is jumping into the fun.

Ty’s Travels is part of the My First I Can Read Series, which uses basic language, word repetition, and illustrations that are ideal for emergent readers. Each page has 1 to 4 simple sentences with large, brightly colored illustrations. Ty’s imagination comes to life in illustrations that look like crayon drawings. Plus, the cute illustrations will help young readers understand the plot.

Ty’s Travels is perfect for young readers who are learning a new skill. Readers will enjoy the repeating onomatopoeias such as chugga-chugga-chugga and clickety-clack. The repetition, onomatopoeia, and short sentences make the story fun to read out loud. Another positive aspect is that Ty’s two-parent family is shown in a positive light. The simple plot and relatable conflict will capture young readers’ attention as they learn to read on their own. Best of all, the story will encourage readers to use their imagination.

Sexual Content

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Violence

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 Drugs and Alcohol

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Language

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Supernatural

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Spiritual Content

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Ty’s Travels: Zip Zoom

Ty’s excited to try out his new scooter, so his parents take him to the park. As Ty attempts to ride, he imagines crowds watching him. Ty imagines that riding a scooter would be easy, but he wobbles. He doesn’t zip and zoom. However, Ty’s family encourages him to keep trying. Ty’s just about to give up when a girl stops her scooter and offers to help. With the help of his new friend, Ty learns how to zip and zoom on his scooter.

Young readers will relate to Ty, who tries hard to ride his scooter, but fails at first. Ty’s experience shows how learning a new skill can be difficult, but with practice, anyone can achieve their goal. The story blends Ty’s experience with his imagined experienced which allows readers to understand Ty’s goal. The conclusion shows Ty and his new friend racing together.

Ty’s Travels is part of the My First I Can Read Series, which uses basic language, word repetition, and illustrations that are ideal for emergent readers. Each page has 1 to 4 simple sentences with large, brightly colored illustrations. Plus, the cute illustrations will help young readers understand the plot.

Ty’s Travels is perfect for young readers who are learning a new skill. Ty’s two-parent family is shown in a positive light. As Ty struggles to ride his scooter, his family cheers him on and encourages him to keep trying. The story’s message is clear: Don’t give up. The simple plot and relatable conflict will capture young readers’ attention as they learn to read on their own.

Sexual Content

  • None

Violence

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 Drugs and Alcohol

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Language

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Supernatural

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Spiritual Content

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The Apple Orchard Riddle

Mr. Tiffin’s class is going on another field trip. The class is excited to go to an apple orchard and learn all about apples. The kids will see how apples are harvested, how apples are turned into cider, and how apples are turned into pies and cakes. Mr. Tiffin even shows the class all the different varieties of apples. During the field trip, the class is challenged to find the answer to a riddle: “Show me a little red house with no windows and no door, but with a star inside.”

Each book in Mr. Tiffin’s Classroom Series focuses on a different student. This story focuses on Tara, who likes to daydream and isn’t “good at tests.” Even though Tara is the focus of the story, she doesn’t have a conflict. Without a conflict, the story is flat and lacks suspense. In addition, one of the students is a little snarky.

Each page has large illustrations that show a diverse group of children. Each page has 1 to 6 sentences and almost every page shows an illustration of a different aspect of an apple farm. Even though The Apple Orchard Riddle is a picture book, the story is intended to be read aloud to a child, rather than for the child to read it for the first time independently. The end of the story contains a list of apple orchard facts.

As students work to discover the answer to the riddle, they look at a tractor, a barn, and an apple peeler. However, the answer to the riddle is obvious from the start. Throughout the field trip, Tara spends a lot of time thinking instead of participating in the other activities. In the end, she discovers the riddle’s answer. Unfortunately, Tara’s situation doesn’t correspond with apples and the story doesn’t have a life lesson.

The Apple Orchard Riddle isn’t as interesting as other books in Mr. Tiffin’s Classroom Series. However, readers will enjoy seeing the different parts of an apple farm. In addition, Tara’s tendency to spend time thinking and daydreaming is showed in a positive light. Mr. Tiffin’s Classroom Series allows readers to explore and learn about different places from the comfort of their homes.

Sexual Content

  • None

Violence

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 Drugs and Alcohol

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Language

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Supernatural

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Spiritual Content

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Otis and the Puppy

Otis and his farm friends love to play hide-and-seek. Otis especially loves to be “it,” finding his friends as they hide in funny places. But one day, when the newest addition to the farm—a bounding puppy who can’t sit still—goes hiding, his attention wanders along with his legs, and soon he is lost in the forest.

Daylight fades quickly, and Otis begins to worry. He knows that his new friend is afraid of the dark and must be terrified to be all alone in the woods. Yet Otis has a secret that makes his tires tremble at the thought of searching in the dark. How can he conquer his fear to save the day?

Any child who loves hide-and-seek will love seeing the funny places Otis finds the farm animals hiding. Otis works and plays hard on the farm. The tractor loves to help plow and plant fields. Otis’s personality shines because of his expressive facial expressions. Readers will fall in love with the cute, curious puppy who loves to sleep curled up next to Otis.

When the little puppy wanders away from the farm, Otis worries about his new friends. Otis understands the puppy’s fear of the dark because Otis has the same fear. However, Otis doesn’t let his fear keep him from going into the dark woods to seek his friend. When the two friends find each other, “somehow the night sounds no longer felt so frightening to them.”

The background of each illustration is done in soft grays, which allows Otis’s and the animal’s colors to pop on the page. When night comes, the animals are just shadows, but even the silhouettes convey the animal’s feelings. As Otis goes into the dark woods, readers will have fun finding the animals in the shadows. The story has the perfect ending. Otis and the puppy reunited, and they are no longer afraid of the dark.

Even though Otis and the Puppy is a picture book, the story is intended to be read aloud to a child rather than for the child to read it for the first time independently. The onomatopoeias make the story fun to read aloud. Each page has 1-5 sentences; however, some of the sentences are complex. Younger readers will love seeing that tractor and puppy become friends.

 Sexual Content

  • None

 Violence

  • None

Drugs and Alcohol

  • None

Language

  • None

Supernatural

  • None

Spiritual Content

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