Recently, I went to iBooks to compare prices with Kindle for a technical book, but while I was there, I started browsing the free books. I found the Velveteen Rabbit was offered for free. And Winnie The Pooh is always there free. And a few early reader books. And then one called Stick Dog wants a Hamburger by Tom Watson.
The book isn’t an early reader book, but it’s not too advanced either. 2nd grade level maybe? It is a very entertaining bit of fiction about a group of dogs out to get some hamburgers. But what stood out for me, was how great the voice was for the story. Right now, our little guy is trying to find his voice/perspective for stories and this book has a very casual, comfortable tone, which also breaks that imaginary barrier of fiction, by directly addressing the reader. Even if the reader is a dog!
The tone has gone over very well with Sal, as he actually gets the jokes. And since the book starts out discussing why the dog is drawn as a stick dog, due to a lack of drawing skills, it instantly created a common bond between our little artist and this book. The way Stick Dog has to address the plans the various dogs comes up with also has a nice emotional IQ aspect about them. There was a lot of subtle touches in the book that made it wonderful overall.
Even the page breaks in the story are also done so that we can discuss/evaluate the plans the dogs come up with for getting hamburgers (biting is dangerous!!!) before continuing on with the story, so there are lots of great, natural talking points in the book. Though, when I reading through the book on my own before sharing it with Sal, I felt the page breaks in iBooks were awkward, because the pictures discussed by the text weren’t always visible at the same time. Though when we read together, we switched to portrait mode, which made the page larger and eliminated the page pairing issue. It then became an exercise to remember what the text was saying while we looked at the pictures.