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The Berenstain Bears: All Aboard (I Can Read Book, Level 1)

Good for ages 4-6

An average “I Can Read Level 1″ book.

Pros:
1. Good for a kid who’s a train lover. They not only are taking a train trip, but also get to tour the train and learn about the various parts/people on a train.
2. Age appropriate, family friend story line.

Cons:
1. As a kid, I liked the Berenstain bears, but now, as a parent and adult, I feel as though there are many better illustrated options out there. They’re illustrated the same way they always have been, but I can tell that my kids aren’t as drawn in by these drawings compared to other books produced under the I Can Read series.
2. The reading level feels a little off to me. It’s definitely not a “My First” level, but it’s borderline Level 2? And some of the words introduced aren’t common words (like “caboose” which is great for this book, probably not going to be useful outside of this book).

Though I’m not disappointed to have bought this book, I think there are definitely better “I Can Read Level 1″ books out there…

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Little Bear (An I Can Read Book)

Our family is split down the middle on this one.

Pros:
1. Cute, completely age-appropriate stories. Little Bear has quite the imagination on him (from going to the moon to making a birthday soup), and Mother Bear is very creative (and caring) in how she handles/teaches Little Bear.
2. As a child, I absolutely adored these stories.
3. A great level-1-ish reading book with great introductory-level vocabulary

Cons:
1. While I LOVED these stories growing up, none of these stories seem to hold my kids’ attention. I think more modern stories (similar reading level) just have a much, MUCH higher ratio of pictures to text. Here, while the pictures are cute, there’s a lot more story to get through.

I think that this will be a great book once my toddlers/kids are older, but there are other “I Can Read” books that hold my kids’ attention much better (from Digger the Dinosaur, which I’m less of a fan of, to Pete the Cat and Wild Kratts). I still love it, I just think that my kids are (perhaps unfortunately) used to more pictures per story :(

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Huff and Puff (My First I Can Read book)

Great for 2.5-5-year-olds interested in learning how to read.

Pros:
1. Illustrations are cute
2. Will definitely appeal to your kid if they’re a train-lover
3. Text and story are simple and yet engaging enough to be age-appropriate and encourage your child to start to read along with you

Cons:
1. By its nature, the closeness of the “Huff” and “Puff” names will have you (and sometimes your kid) messing up the roles sometimes

In terms of books that are this level, and are meant to encourage your young one to read, this is the one we’ve had the best luck with. While “Digger the Dinosaur” is cuter in terms of illustrations, this is the story my toddler actually tries to repeat and learn words for… Also, though I (as a parent) like some of the “Biscuit the Dog” books, it’s not something my kids have engaged with.

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Digger the Dinosaur (My First I Can Read)

Great for 2.5-5 year olds
This is a very average “My First I Can Read” book.

Pros:
1. Illustrations are really cute — both of my toddlers are big fans of the cute “Digger” and “Stego” dinosaurs
2. The storyline (clean your room before you can play) is easy to follow and easy for even toddlers and pre-k/kindergarten kids to relate to.
3. The CAPITALIZED words that Digger keeps confusing are good for kids trying to learn to read

Cons:
1. The story just isn’t as well-written as some of the other “My First I Can Read” books
2. For whatever reason, though my kids like the pictures, they don’t really try to read along as much as with other books in this serious (which I count as a serious pitfall… considering the point of these books) — my guess is that there’s just so much dialog that the kids are too busy following the dialog to try to read along?? Though I’m not sure…

Overall, it’s an average entry for this reading level/series. We’re happy we have it, but it’s not the best in terms of encouraging our kids to read more…

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I Want My Hat Back (Jon Klassen)

4.5 out of 5 stars

This is a simple, clever book with non-flashy illustrations and an interesting punchline/conclusion.

There’s a bear, and he’s lost his hat, and he wants it back.

He goes around asking various animals if they’ve seen his hat… and eventually realizes that one of the many animals he asked (a turtle, a rabbit, a snake, an armadillo…) was lying to him, and…

(spoiler alert… yes, I know it’s a kid’s book)…

Read more ›

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