Wednesday, November 4, 2009

children's book review: Mercy Watson Thinks Like a Pig by Kate DiCamillo

Welcome to day three of my reviews of the 2008 Cybil Award finalists in the Easy Reader category.

Mercy Watson Thinks Like a Pig is the fifth book in the Mercy Watson series. I confess Chris Van Dusen's illustrations captured my attention first, but the combination of the story and the illustrations was perfect. The book itself is exactly what early chapter books should be: a combination of the familiar picture book and the soon-to-be familiar chapter book. The illustrations and font size are consistent with a picture book, but the page size and length are consistent with chapter books. Most importantly, the story and illustrations are delightful.

Mercy Watson is adorably precocious and utterly porcine. While Mercy is enjoying some fresh lemonade with her owners/parents, she smells fresh pansies and promptly wanders next door to eat them because they taste as good as they smell. Naturally, the neighbors are not pleased and call animal control. Hijinks ensue. DiCamillo mostly tells the story through simple words and phrases, but she also slips in more complex words, such as porcine, subtly. She deftly uses them in context that makes them clear to young readers. While these books are the perfect transition book from picture books to chapter books, they would also make excellent read aloud books for younger children.

Rating: 5 stars (out of 5 stars)
Pages: 72
Publication date: 2008
Source: my local public library

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