In 1957, Harper published its first I Can Read title, Little Bear, written by Else Holmelund Minarik and illustrated by Maurice Sendak. Large type, simple vocabulary, chapter-like divisions, and decorative pictures made Little Bear perfect for emerging readers—they could read the story comfortably and not feel overwhelmed by the text. Following suit came such classics as Peggy Parish's Amelia Bedelia series, Lillian Hoban's books about Arthur the monkey, and Syd Hoff's popular Danny and the Dinosaur. Many books in this series are special in the depth of emotion evoked - Little Bear, the Frog and Toad books by Arnold Lobel, and Daniel’s Duck by Clyde Bulla, to name a few - and all are enjoyed by children of all ages. Grade 2 - Grade 4.
About the Author
The late F. N. Monjo, author of The Drinking Gourd, wrote two other popular I Can Read Books: Indian Summer, illustrated by Anita Lobel, and The One Bad Thing About Father, illustrated by Rocco Negri.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
In F. N. Monjo's The Drinking Gourd, Tommy Fuller's misbehavior in church leads him to discover that his home is a stop on and his father is a conductor of the Underground Railroad. This short chapter book is divided into six chapters, each of which is capable of standing by itself thematically. Several chapters serve almost exclusively as a means of imparting historical information about the Underground Railroad to the reader, with the characters merely providing exposition. However, the first and fourth chapters provide surprisingly engaging story-telling. Tommy's fast-thinking and impish nature first land him in hot water and then help him sidetrack a search party. With more historical background given in the author's note, this book is an excellent educational resource with enough human interest to keep children engaged. It would be a good addition to grade school lbiraries, middle school libraries with a population of readers with low reading levels. It would not hurt a public library's collection either.