Links I Shared on Twitter This Week: August 24
The Prairie Thief: Melissa Wiley

Rocket Writes a Story: Tad Hills

Book: Rocket Writes a Story
Author: Tad Hills (@TadHills)
Pages: 40
Age Range: 4-8 

Rocket Writes a Story, by Tad Hills, is the sequel to How Rocket Learned to Read. Like the first book (which I somehow never reviewed), it is adorable. Although an ode to words and stories (reading them and writing them), it never strays from being first of all a story. A simple story, sure, but a satisfying one, too.

Rocket, having learned to read in the first book, is still adding words to his collection. He has a host of little pieces of paper with words on them. He decides that he would like to do something with all of those great words. He decides to write a story. Coming up with material for a story turns out to be more difficult than he had expected. But of course he succeeds in the end. And through his story, he even makes a new friend.

Here's my favorite quote:

"Rocket even liked the way books smelled. When he opened a new book, it smelled like a place he'd never been to, like a friend he'd never met."

I feel that way about books, too. There's also a bit where Rocket is trying to figure out who lives in a nest in a big pine tree, and he receives the word "OWL" as a present. I love the idea that a new word can be a present.

The enthusiastic Rocket and his patient teacher are solid characters, their personalities revealed through their expressions and postures. New character Owl is delightfully uncertain and easy for kids to relate to. 

Hills' illustrations are kid-friendly and engaging. He uses a blue/green/yellow palette that will be familiar to fans of the first book (and the app), a palette that, while celebrating reading, also celebrates the outdoors. The illustrations featuing Rocket's words (each shown on a separate piece of paper, with a little black and white drawing) are likely to inspire kids to create their own special flashcards. 

In short, Rocket Writes a Story is going on our keep shelf, and is a must-purchase for libraries (especially school libraries). The two Rocket books together would make the perfect gift for any just-learning-to-read four to six year old. This one would also make a good gift for any writer seeking inspiration. Highly recommended!

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade (@RandomHouseKids)
Publication Date: July 24, 2012
Source of Book: Review copy from the publisher

© 2012 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. This site is an Amazon affiliate, and purchases made through Amazon links may result in my receiving a small commission (at no additional cost to you).