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Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers. More

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Author: Erica S Perl

Illustrator: Julia Denos

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Publisher: Abrams Books for Young Readers, ½2010

Material: hard cover

Summary: Each day when Ida goes to school, Dotty goes too. She follows behind Ida on a leash of blue yarn. While the children learned, Dotty would play with the other creatures in Ms. Raymond's class. As the year wore on, her classmates left their friends behind; but Dotty couldn't bear to leave Dotty at home. Her friends began to laugh at her, and Ida got angry ... so angry she got in trouble. Ms. Raymond asked her to stay behind so they could talk about what was happening, and to Ida's surprise, Ms. Raymond had a friend just like Dotty. Preschoolers will see themselves (and their imaginary friends) in this story about growing up.

Type of Reading: bedtime story, family reading, anytime reading, playtime reading, read aloud book

Recommended Age: read together: 3 to 8; read yourself: 7 to 9

Interest Level: 3 to 8

Reading Level: 2.7

Age of Child: Read by a 9-year-old girl.

Young Reader Reaction: Our daughter picked this book to share because she saw herself in the cover illustration. She loved the story and particularly liked that Ms. Raymond wasn't "too old" for an imaginary friend.

Adult Reader Reaction: This was a fun, engaging story. I loved that Ms. Raymond help Ida stay true to herself and didn't try to explain away imaginary friends. The illustrations are wonderful (I love Dotty in the snow) and help keep the story light. I also like how Ida looks older than a preschool student ... that will help kids see themselves as "mature."

Pros: Bright colors, invisible creatures of all sorts, and a strong story make this fun to read with kids who have imaginary friends and those who don't.

Cons: None.

Borrow or Buy: Buy. This is a story that you'll want to share with your child ... and they'll want to spend time with Ida and Dotty alone, too.


Educational Themes: The obvious theme in the book is growing up and imaginary friends; but there are other things to share and explore, too: name calling, respect, personal choice, and how to behave in school.

Notes: The Reading Tub½ picked up this book at the American Library Association conference. It is a personal copy. There are no expectations of review associated with this book.

Literary Categories: Fiction - picture book, school, life lessons, growing up

Date(s) Reviewed: January 2011

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