I am in a small group of teacher/librarians who are discussing books so this one fell into my reading pile. I am reading through book after book hoping to stay ahead of my ever growing list. The book awards are coming and there is so much to read. This one is cute but not an award winner.
Kevin Henkes is the author of The Year of Billy Miller. You know him from Lilly’s Purple Purse, Chrysanthemum, and many other picture books. This new books is a 229 page chapter book – not what I was expecting when I picked it up. I was still looking for a picture book.
The story is about a soon to be second grader who falls and bumps his head. A big fall with a big bump and so begins his scary year of second grade. Billy is always concerned he will not make it. He thinks he does not have enough smarts to do second grade and now with the bump on the head he is sure he will not do well in school.
Henkes presents a easy read chapter book that lays out the fears of many young students. It is a great book for early reader to make that step into longer stories, bigger chapter books. His language is simple and the story is one that young readers know well, the every day life of second grade. He includes humor and the ordinary adventures of almost sleep overs, presentations at school and a family always there to support him.
It is a nice book that I would present to kids for reading but not sure I would use as a read aloud or teaching book. I like the simple lines and would prefer to leave this as one of the first long reads for early readers to explore on their own. That said Kevin does have a teachers guide on his web site with projects that Billy does in class and guiding questions if should need them.