Monday, March 19, 2012

Picture Book Monday - A review of Yoko Learns to Read

Some time ago, I started working as a learning-to-read volunteer. I find this work to be incredibly rewarding, and I have met some wonderful children. When they make a breakthrough, or figure out how to sound out a difficult word, their pride in their accomplishment is a priceless gift.

Today's picture book is about a little girl cat called Yoko who is learning how to read. The book is one in a  series of picture books about Yoko written and illustrated by Rosemary Wells. Rosemary is a fantastic writer who has given us Max and Ruby, Timothy, McDuff, and many other wonderful book characters.

Rosemary Wells
Picture Book
For ages 5 to 7
Hyperion, 2012, 978-142313823-5
   Every evening, Yoko and her mother read one of the three Japanese children’s books that they own, and now Yoko knows the stories in the books by heart. As a reward for knowing the stories, Yoko’s teacher, Mrs. Jenkins, lets Yoko put three leaves on the class book tree. Yoko cannot help noticing that Valerie has four leaves on the tree, and Angelo has six leaves. Yoko wants to be able to put more leaves on the tree because she does not want to be “left behind.” The problem is that Yoko only has the three Japanese books at home, and she needs to read new books if she wants to get more leaves.
   Yoko and her Mama decide to go the library so that they can borrow books for Yoko. When they get home, they are able to figure out the story in the book by looking at the pictures, but they still cannot read the words. Yoko is still learning how, and Yoko’s mama only knows how to read Japanese words. Somehow, Yoko needs to learn how to read the words in her library books so that she can earn more leaves.
   When you are young, learning how to read can be challenging, especially if your parents don’t know how to read, or if they only know how to read words that are written in a foreign language. In this charming picture book, Rosemary wells brings back Yoko, her little Japanese kitten character, to show children that anyone can learn how to read if they have a little help.

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