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OLIVER'S CASTLE

Author: Diane Thompson

Illustrator: Jim Johnson, cover art

Reserve at the Library

Publisher: Mystic Toad Press, LLC, ©2005

Material: paperback

Summary: Animals take center stage in this set of four short stories about friendship, honesty, and learning from your mistakes. This is an early reader book with short tories.

Type of Reading: family reading, anytime reading, read aloud book, remedial reader

Recommended Age: read together: 5 to 9; read yourself: 9 to 12

Interest Level: 6 to 10

Age of Child: Teen STAR Review Team, Be the Star You Are!™

Young Reader Reaction: All the stories were a nice, satisfying length for beginning readers to enjoy and practice their reading. Each of the four stories taught lessons everyone should carry throughout their entire lives. The lessons apply to readers of all ages from a child beginning to read or a parent or teacher aiding in their reading. Perhaps if there were a couple more stories included in the book, the overall package would provide more capturing. When I finished reading, I wanted more more of these cute tales. Otherwise, I found everything about this book to be wonderful. This book was a great read and would buy it for kindergartners to read.

Adult Reader Reaction: Although the main characters are cats and dogs; a frog and a fly; and an aardvark family, the stories are universal. The material is great for a remedial reader, who likes "short." Still, the page is full of text, with little white space.

Pros: Kids will instantly relate to the characters in these stories.

Cons: These stories naturally lend themselves to illustration. Adding pictures would allow the author to engage younger readers in the stories.

Borrow or Buy: Borrow. This is a nice set of stories, but there are other books that offer the same themes and will keep the attention of younger audiences (who need the lessons) with illustrations.

If You Liked This Book, Try: I'll DO THE RIGHT THING   MOLLY AND THE SWORD   CHULITA THE BLIND CAT

Educational Themes: Each of the stories offers a variation on the themes of responsibility and friendship. "Andy's Christmas Lesson" is one that will resonate with kids who deal with temptation regularly.

Notes: Flesch Kincaid reading level 4.4

Literary Categories: Fiction - animal stories, adventure, short stories

Date(s) Reviewed: August 2008

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