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"For the first time in the [26-year]history of the survey—conducted five times since 1982—the overall adult literary r... More

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Author: Katie Speck

Illustrator: Paul Ratz de Tagyos

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Publisher: Henry Holt and Company,

Material: hard cover

Summary: Everything is always just so at Number 10 Grand Street. Only Mr. and Mrs. Peabody live there. They can assure you there are no bugs. But they would be wrong. Maybelle (cockroach) and Henry (flea) live there, too. Like the Peabodys, they have rules so that everything can remain just so: "when it's light, stay out of sight; if you're spied, bteter hide; and never meet with human feet." Now, due to an unfortunate window accident, Maurice lives here, too. As Maybelle and Henry try to rescue an injured Maurice, Mrs. Peabody is getting ready to host the Ladies' Spring Tea. She has made her special Chocolate Surprise Cookies for the occasion. Maybelle loves those cookies. She just wants a taste. Maybelle may have to break every rule to do it. Will she dare? This is an illustrated chapter book for elementary readers.

Type of Reading: family reading, independent reading, transitional reader, illustrated chapter, short chapter, read aloud book

Recommended Age: read together: 5 to 9; read yourself: 8 to 10

Interest Level: 5 to 9

Reading Level: 3.6

Age of Child: Read with 7-year-old girl.

Young Reader Reaction: At first our first grade wasn't sure about a "cute" cockroach. But she quickly got wrapped up in the story, and we finished it in just two sittings. She was clearly paying attention, because as the story progressed, she would remind us of the "3 rules" and let us know when Maybelle broke them (even when the author didn't). Although this was too advanced for her to read, she asked us to use our "reading finger" so she could follow along with the words.

Adult Reader Reaction: I never imagined there could be cute cockroaches and fleas! There are cute illustrations throughout, but the text truly carries the action. Character names and humor help to engage readers and listeners alike. This

Pros: Maybelle, Henry, and Maurice are the most endearing insects on the planet. Funny events, silly character names, and a happy ending make this fun to share with pre-readers and independent readers alike.

Cons: None.

Borrow or Buy: Buy. This is fun to read, and even when you know how it ends, you'll want to read it again just so you can laugh. You'll like it so much you'll want to find other Maybelle stories, too.

If You Liked This Book, Try: CINDER RABBIT   FANCY NANCY AND THE BOY FROM PARIS (I Can Read, level 1)  

Educational Themes: In addition to being an easy reader, the story offers humor and suspense that keep kids turning the page. There are themes of friendship and compassion, as well as the value and pitfalls of rules. Maybelle learns an important lesson about herself, too.

Notes: Flesch Kincaid reading level 3.8

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

Date(s) Reviewed: November 2008

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