The Summer Nick Taught His Cats to Read by Curtis Manley, illustrated by Kate Berube

Published by Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers 

Summary:  Nick loves his two cats, Verne and Stevenson, and spends his summer hanging out with them.  Unfortunately, when Nick sits down to read, the cats are uncooperative.  So Nick decides to teach them how to read.  It’s an uphill battle, but one day Verne becomes intrigued by the word “fish”, and that opens the door for him.  Pretty soon he has his own library card, and Nick can hardly haul home all the books his cat picks out.  Stevenson stubbornly refuses to join in, though.  One day, Nick discovers a pile of papers under his bed, and realizes that Stevenson has created a wordless story.  When Nick writes words to go with the pictures, Stevenson sticks around and listens to the story. Before long the three friends are all reading, then enjoying acting their favorite stories.  The only thing the cats can’t do is read stories to Nick…but Nick may have a solution to that as well.  32 pages; ages 4-8.

Pros:  This would be a great read-aloud to introduce the joys of reading, as well as the concept that different students learn reading at different times and in different ways.   An engaging story and illustrations.

Cons:   Emerging readers’ expectations may be set unrealistically high when Stevenson goes to bed one night apparently illiterate, and is up reading Treasure Island early the next morning.

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