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FUNNY LUNCH (Max Spaniel series)

Author: David Catrow

Illustrator: David Catrow

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Publisher: Orchard Books, an Imprint of Scholastic,

Material: hard cover

Summary: Max Spaniel is not a dog ... he's a chef! Well, a short order cook to be more exact. When people come to his diner to eat, he takes the order and makes the food. Or at least that's the plan. This easy reader uses fun graphics and lots of humor to help kids learn to read.

Type of Reading: family reading, playtime reading, read aloud book, learning to read, easy reader

Recommended Age: read together: 4 to 6; read yourself: 6 to 9

Interest Level: 4 to 8

Reading Level: 1

Age of Child: Read with boys ages 4 and 6.

Young Reader Reaction: My kids loved the hilarity of the story. Max is just ridiculous, in an adorable way that makes kids laugh and parents chuckle. This is a story that has been made interesting so that kids will WANT to learn to read it. Kids will enjoy it and want to read more. They will learn that books are interesting (not dry or boring!) and that you can go on adventure with interesting characters if you open up a book. Educational: learning to read.

Adult Reader Reaction: Max Spaniel is a wonderful read on so many levels. He's cute, his antics are hilarious, and he makes reading fun for kids. The illustrations have lots of visual humor and would allow for using this as a "wordless" book to make up your own story.

Pros: Funny, action-based illustrations and simple text make this a fun book to share with kids who are getting ready to read, as well as those who are developing their skills.

Cons: Don't read before bedtime ... this is not a quiet book. I also wish the cat had a name - or at least got some credit. Max talks about "we" a lot, but he doesn't tell us who his partner is.

Borrow or Buy: Borrow, at least. Be forewarned: it will tickle your kids' funny bone (and probably yours) and you'll be reading it a lot! It is short enough that your young reader will learn it quickly, and be ready to move on to another book. However, if you have younger siblings at home, have the older child read this to the younger children. The story is very engaging!!!

If You Liked This Book, Try: HOORAY FOR FLY GUY!   WATCH ME THROW THE BALL (An Elephant and Piggie Book)   MERCY WATSON FIGHTS CRIME

Educational Themes: This is a story meant to help new readers practice their skills. You can stretch it to pull out themes or ideas (like idioms) but it really is just a fun book to share and read aloud.

Notes: This publisher sent a copy of this book as part of the 2010 Children's and Young Adult Bloggers Literary Award (Cybils) process. This review is not intended to represent the opinions of the Cybils. The book will be donated to a reader in need.

Literary Categories: Fiction - animal characters, humor, easy reader

Date(s) Reviewed: January 2011, September 2011

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