Tuesday, June 21, 2011

You're Finally Here!

You're finally here.  Thanks for stopping to read my post about a new book by Canadian author, Melanie Watt.  This was among my purchases as I wandered the shelves of Cover-to-Cover after our recent bloggers' breakfast.   This year my students found Watt's characters, Scaredy Squirrel and Chester, irresistible so I had to pick up this newest book by one of our favorite authors for our classroom shelves.

I am certain this will be one of those read-alouds students will not be able to resist.  In You're Finally Here, rabbit is glad his reader has finally decided to join him, but wonders what took so long.  He begins being a bit grumpy about the fact that it took so long for the reader to come to the pages of his story.  Then he decides it might be better if he were a bit more celebratory about the arrival.

The changes in font size, use of speech bubbles, and double page spreads, in which rabbit explains how keeping him waiting has made him feel, are all worth a peek inside this new picture book.

A Word About "Levels"
The teacher in my can't resist a little soapbox sidebar about levels.  When I stopped by KidsCanPress, I couldn't help but notice that the book is listed with a grade level of 2, a Fountas & Pinnell level K, and a Reading Recovery level of 18.  Once I got over my sadness that levels are so quickly placed on books for young readers, I thought about all the PK-1 classrooms that might think, "This book is too challenging for my young readers."  I thought about all the parents who might say after looking at the font (without really reading, noting the vocabulary, and thinking about the story), "This book is too easy for my child."

The format of the book could be a bit tricky for emergent readers.  Not only do they need to know to move left to right, top to bottom, but they will need to understand how to navigate the pages with four picture/text boxes on a page.  However, that being said, I believe after a few times of hearing this story in read-aloud it is one a variety of young readers will be able to revisit and reread.  To me the opportunity to be able to reread this book after a few times hearing the story will help develop vocabulary, word recognition, and book handling skills of emergent readers.  I have a feeling this book will be one of those in which students are highly engaged while reading.  It is a must for my shelves.  Thanks to Melanie Watt for writing about another character my students are sure to enjoy --- no matter where they are in their reading journey.

Other Links of Interest:
A glogster of Melanie Watts
Check out Scaredy Squirrel on YouTube


  1. Melanie Watt is one of our favorites too! My students absolutely LOVE Scaredy Squirrel and Chester -- with no influence from me, right?! Thanks for the book review and your additional notes about the leveling. Let kids love the books and enjoy reading!

  2. I really appreciate your comments about levels. It's always distressing to think that kids won't get a chance to experience a book because some 'system' has deemed it too hard or too easy.

  3. I'm not sure who loves Melanie Watt more me or my students. Thanks for sharing her new book. I agree that levels can box people in and limit new reading experiences.

  4. My first graders have LOVED Chester this year! Thinking about all the class conversations and books "reserves" put on Chester this year, I can't imagine a year WITHOUT Chester in our room! I am happy my READER'S DECIDED this was a JUST RIGHT book! Because it was, it was just right for learning, talking and thinking about our thinking! What more could we want? We will look forward to this new book too!
    ~Celebrate Book Choice for Readers!