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Summary: All of the Toad Catchers climb the monkey bars, and Christopher wanted to try, too. But when he got to the top, his fear took over, and he fell to the ground. Christopher's Dad told him the story of Screech the Macaw who was afraid to fly, but who saved a friend after his mother taught him four powerful words. This is a father-son story about overcoming one's fears.
Type of Reading: bedtime story, playtime reading, independent reading, read aloud book
Recommended Age: read together: 3 to 8; read yourself: 9 to 12
Interest Level: 3 to 19
Reading Level: 4.9
Age of Child: Read with 5-year-old child.
Young Reader Reaction: It took some time to get our preschooler to sit down with this book. The bold illustrations and busy pages seemed to distract her. Still, once we got through it once, s/he pulled it from the shelf to read several more times over a 2-week period.
Adult Reader Reaction: The message in the story is great: believe in yourself. Both parents found the text (big, small, woven all over the page, different colors) a distraction. Having so many words crammed onto robust illustrations made reading this book unappealing.
Pros: The oversized book is a nice change. The bold colors of the illustrations reinforce the message of being confident.
Cons: The identities of the 'toad catchers' are implied. The story doesn't have a strong nexus to being at the creek.
Borrow or Buy: Borrow. Once your child accepts the message, he won't need this book anymore.
Educational Themes: The value of this book is explicit: it is important to be positive and believe in yourself. The theme is easily parlayed into the personal lives of the readers/listeners, whether it's gymnastics, soccer, etc. Life takes practice.
Notes: This is a Moms Choice Award Nominee for 2006.