Friday, October 26, 2012

Charley's First Night by Amy Hest - OPTIONAL

Hest, Amy and Helen Oxenbury Charley's First Night. 32 pgs. Candlewick, 2012. $15.99. PICTURE BOOK.

Henry welcomes his new puppy to his house, happily showing Charley around, explaining everything to him, and agreeing to feed and walk him. But when Charley wakes up several times through the night, Henry can think of only one way to comfort him: curling up together in Henry's bed. Even if it's against the rules.

The illustrations in this story are lovely and engaging, bringing life into the world of Henry and Charley's first night together. The story itself is sweet as well, and many children will enjoy being immersed in a tale of a boy with his new puppy, despite the rather abrupt ending. (What are the consequences for Henry bringing Charley into his bed? Are there any?) While the lengthy sentences have a good cadence, they are often unwieldy as well, and they may cause difficulties for new and struggling readers. The wordiness and repetitive sentence structure also make the book longer than it needs to be, giving it more of a child's voice but also slowing the pacing quite a bit.

EL - OPTIONAL. Reviewed by: Caryn.

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