Mo Willems introduces us to a new series perfect for our preschool, K and first grade readers. He has created a very likable Cat (simple enough for kids to draw) in his new book called Cat the Cat, Who Is That? In this book, Cat meets many new friends who in just a page, we get to know by the voice in the word bubble. You meet, Mouse the Mouse, Duck the Duck and Fish the Fish. Our favorite (so far) is Fish the Fish because after being greeted by Cat the Cat, he says "Hey Dude!" The kids laughed after hearing his voice and noticed that he like to blow bubbles. The text because it is focused on our youngest readers is repetitive and predictable yet engaging. The story ends as Cat the Cat meets an unexpected character (large alien-looking fellow) who she has no idea what to call. Don't worry, she jumps into playing and shouting "Blarggie, blarggie" with him. You might be thinking..."blarggie?" I was but my first grader told me this was his favorite part. The words "blarggie, blarggie" made him belly laugh.
In the other arc I received, Let's Say Hi to Friends that Fly, Cat the Cat is featured on the cover asking, "Are you ready?" The kids in my class were very ready and anxious to find out more from Cat the Cat. This story is a patterned text with the question, Can you fly (Bee)the (Bee)? followed by an answer from the character (watch me!) and then a page describing how the creature flies (buzz...buzz). Cat the Cat also repeats words of encouragement to each friend throughout the story like...Go Bee the Bee! You can also see that the text rhymes. I love that Mo has weaved in so many features of early text that supports readers (high freq words, repeating words, picture support, predictable text, rhyme, brief pieces of dialogue that support fluency). Well, the story ends as Cat the Cat and her friends bump into Rhino the Rhino (who is sitting on a pigeon- looking coil spring rocker you would see in the ground at a park). Of course they are thinking...Can you fly Rhino the Rhino? My kids thought he might fly away on the Pigeon but that wasn't the case. I'll let you be pleasantly surprised in February!
Last, I found another in the series on amazon called What's Your Sound, Hound the Hound? I am sure it will be as wonderful for early readers as the others. Thanks Mo for creating books that kids love and want to read on their own!!!