I have probably mentioned I like what we in the business call “Easy readers.” They are the beginning readers for ages 5 to 8; kindergarten to about second grade. Not only do you have a quick read (and therefore can say I Read A Book!) you can learn what the publishing world thinks kids like.
For a while, Moana was big. Really big. The movie was everyplace as were toys, clothing and books. One of those books was Moana and Pua. This is Random House’s idea of Level Two. Kids are past “see Dick and Jane run” and are into solid words and stories. This Step into Reading (the name of their series) story is how Moana meet her friend Pua: a little pig who did not eat, was separate from its family and was tiny-cute. However, the narrator tells you the story. There is little to no dialogue. There is actually little story. You need to realize this story takes place before the movie starts. And since they are an island nation, but the father is against ocean sailing (because he wishes to protect his family and people) the sailing must be just “close to shore” (this was a little confusing at first). However, the child reader will just say, “Yay! Moana! And the pig that was all the merchandise but has two scenes!” Melissa Lagonegro adapted a movie plot the best they could to capture a story and yet, make a new story as well. Disney Storybook Art Team did their Disney magic to make the characters come to life as close to the movie as possible. The movie magic is not there, but the magic of getting your kid to read is.
But then you get HarperCollins I Can Read series and a level one. Which I felt was just slightly below Random Houses level two. The issue I have with these levels is every publisher has their own rating system. Therefore, look to see which book fits your reader and not just go by levels. Bruce Hale and his Clark the Shark character is a back in Clark the Shark: Tooth Trouble. Clark loves soccer, but sometimes you get hurt while playing. Clark has a ball hit him in the mouth and makes a wiggly tooth. Clark must see the dentist, but one of his friends tells him that dentists are painful. And now, Clark does NOT want to go. But his mother tells him Billy Ray Ray (the friend in question) told him that whales can fly, too, so Clark has nothing to fear. But, of course, he does. The surprise is the dentist is a nice, funny, gentle fish. She tells bad jokes (What times does a shark go to the dentist? Tooth-hurty) and she talks to Clark and surprise! All done. There are some shark facts at the end, but overall this is just a going to dentist story for the young reader or listener. Guy Francis’s illustrations compliment the story with their sweet, silliness.
These two readers are great for the classroom, beginning reader or for a short, fun read aloud. You do not have to be a fan of sharks or even Clark the Shark for one, but if you have a reader who likes pop culture, or even a reader who is reluctant, Moana is good because your reader sees reading is fun and it relates to something else, they know.