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Reading to Peanut

The cover--such happiness!! Image c. Amanda Haley.

From Booklist, September 15, 2011

The joy of learning to read and write is the exciting story in this lively
picture book with large, sweet, colorful, cartoon-style illustrations that show preschooler Lucy having fun with her parents and her mischievous dog, Peanut. She starts off by making signs, “Mom” and “Dad,” with words and pictures on sticky notes, but Peanut chews them. As the family works together in the garden, she makes signs for the vegetables they plant—“beans,” “peas,” “carrots,” and “corn”—but Peanut digs in the muddy garden and mixes up all the seeds. Her new sign, “mixed vegetables,” makes them all laugh and sing. When Peanut chews her sign, “Eat,” she laughs that Peanut is also learning to read.

The wry show-and-tell story builds up to the climax, when Lucy makes Peanut his own birthday card—she knows to put it high on a shelf, and
he eats his cake instead.

Young children will enjoy returning to this warm, humorous offering again and again.

— Hazel Rochman

The first review is in! Thank you, Kirkus!

"Learning to read can be an adventure, as this determined little girl and her pup demonstrate.

Lucy wants to learn to read and write, but don’t ask why: It’s a secret. She gathers up the necessary materials and, with help from her parents, draws pictures of the words she wants to know on sticky notes and writes the appropriate letters underneath. Colorful, energetic acrylics show Lucy and her ever-present pup Peanut in motion over the next few weeks, labeling various people and objects, often to comic effect. (Peanut enjoys munching on paper. Is this his way of learning to read, too?) After a lot of hard work, Lucy is ready. Eyes shining with enthusiasm, on Peanut’s birthday she makes a special cake with help from Mom, and she has an even bigger surprise for her beloved dog—a card she’s made all by herself.

The appealing character, lively pictures and mild suspense make for a warm family story that shows the fun of having a pet and provides a strategy for learning to read that youngsters will eagerly embrace.

A strong choice for school or home reading. Nicely captures the excitement of learning to read and write, complete with the feeling of accomplishment that ensues. (Picture book. 3-6)

The lovely Amanda Haley hard at work on PEANUT in her studio! Reprinted with her permission.