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RANCHER DICK AND THE LITTLE GRAY CALF

Author: Jack Shabel

Illustrator: Jack Shabel

Reserve at the Library

Publisher: Seven Locks Press, ©2003

Material: hard cover

Summary: Rancher Dick runs a cattle ranch in Colorado. He finds one of his baby calves abandoned by its mother. He works hard to teach the calf to nurse and finds an adoptive mother for it. This illustrated picture book offers a non-fiction account about life on a ranch.

Type of Reading: bedtime story, family reading, anytime reading, read aloud book, learning to read

Recommended Age: read together: 2 to 4; read yourself: 6 to 9

Interest Level: 2 to 6

Age of Child: Started reading with a 3-year-old boy.

Young Reader Reaction: Our son liked the animals, but mostly he liked that Rancher Dick looks "just like daddy." I thought he would respond more enthusiastically to the book. It may have been a little difficult for him to relate to ... or he was just soaking it up.

Adult Reader Reaction: The story is novel and fairly well written. I love that the abandoned calf is paired with a mother who is yearning for a child to adopt. Rancher Dick covered the calf with powdered milk so the adoptive mother will lick and bond with it. Although it is good that the pictures were realistic, it made for a not-as-exciting book. Overall, this is a good 'first book' from this author/photographer.

Pros: This is a novel story. The book explains some very complex animal behaviors with words and phrases that are accessible (and not negative) to young children.

Cons: Dull pictures are not as eye-catching for toddlers who love bright colors.

Borrow or Buy: Borrow. This is a great book to check out of the library.

If You Liked This Book, Try: YOU ARE MY WISH COME TRUE   ANIMALS ARE SLEEPING   THE LIFESIZE ANIMAL OPPOSITES BOOK

Educational Themes: I would love to use this book to teach kids about animal behaviors and the concept of adoption. This book would be easy for making parallels to teach that important social concept.

Literary Categories: Nonfiction - animal stories, biology

Date(s) Reviewed: March 2008

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