How Rocket Learned to Read

( 28 )

Overview

Learn to read with this New York Times-bestselling picture book, starring an irresistible dog named Rocket and his teacher, a little yellow bird. Follow along as Rocket masters the alphabet, sounds out words, and finally . . . learns to read all on his own!

With a story that makes reading fun—and will even help listeners learn to read—this book is ideal for kindergarten classrooms and story hour or as a gift for that beginning reader. Fresh, charming art by Tad Hills, the New ...

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Overview

Learn to read with this New York Times-bestselling picture book, starring an irresistible dog named Rocket and his teacher, a little yellow bird. Follow along as Rocket masters the alphabet, sounds out words, and finally . . . learns to read all on his own!

With a story that makes reading fun—and will even help listeners learn to read—this book is ideal for kindergarten classrooms and story hour or as a gift for that beginning reader. Fresh, charming art by Tad Hills, the New York Times bestselling author/illustrator of Duck & Goose, will make this a favorite.

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  • How Rocket Learned to Read
    How Rocket Learned to Read  

Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
When a spotted puppy named Rocket takes a great leap into literacy, young readers pay heed. Duck & Goose author Tad Hills records how a tiny yellow bird helps Rocket master the rudiments of the alphabet, pronunciation, and, yes, even reading. A festive picture book to help fledgling readers get their wings.
Publishers Weekly
With characters as memorable as those in Hills’s Duck and Goose series, this good-natured story shows readers how Rocket, a spotted puppy, becomes a beginning reader, thanks to a little yellow bird. Hills uses expressive oil and colored pencil spot art (and a subtle sense of humor) to engage readers as Rocket becomes the bird’s pupil; the enthusiastic teacher wisely hooks Rocket on stories before interesting him in “the wondrous, mighty, gorgeous alphabet.... Where it all begins.” The illustrations emphasize Rocket’s responsiveness and wide-eyed curiosity as he learns letters (the bird holds up a worm while pointing to W) and progresses from there. “Together they sang out the sounds that each letter makes and spelled the sounds they heard around them.” If the details of Rocket’s transition can be nebulous (“Soon they were spelling words”) Hills still emphasizes the need for practice (“Rocket thought about the bird’s sweet chirp while he sounded out words like D-I-G and W-I-N-D and C-O-L-D”). The amiable characters and gentle text--as well as an alphabet banner the bird strings up--make this a decent primer for humans, too. Ages 3-7. (July)
Children's Literature - Elizabeth Young
All Rocket wanted to do was lay down under his favorite tree in his favorite spot to nap after a busy morning of chasing leaves. Shortly after he settles down, a bright yellow bird disturbs his slumber by asking if he is her student. Rocket decides to nap elsewhere, but is intrigued by the alphabet, and eventually listens to a story as the bird reads. Anxious to find out if Buster finds his bone in the story, Rocket runs to the tree, only to find it empty, save for the story book about Buster. The next morning finds Rocket at the tree before the bird arrives, announcing he'd like to hear the end of the story about Buster. Such begins the student-teacher relationship that leaves Rocket hungry to learn during the winter while the little bird flies south. While he is alone during the winter, Rocket spells out words in the snow, he spells out what happens in winter; d-i-g, w-i-n-d, the names of his friends. When spring arrives, he spells out words such as m-u-d, and m-e-l-t. When the little yellow bird arrives after her migration Rocket meets her with great anticipation and hearty tail thumps of delight. (w-a-g) Together they continue learning about birds flying north, picnics in the sun, and even about Buster finding his bones. The images are great, especially of the weather turning. Something about the ominous grey sky is very realistic, as is the comforting instance of winter melting. Rocket is portrayed as a dog anyone could own, but is based on the author's own dog, seen in the jacket cover flap. However, the real Rocket has not yet learned to read. The book is perfect for those reluctant to earn to read. Familiar objects lend to curiosity and exploration, resulting in a successful reading experience. A terrific addition to any preschool or home library. Reviewer: Elizabeth Young
Lisa Von Drasek
With his new book, How Rocket Learned to Read, Tad Hills…brings a sweet but not saccharine touch to a common struggle of childhood.
—The New York Times
From the Publisher
A New York Times bestseller

A 2010 Parents’ Choice Silver Award

An Autumn 2010 Children’s Indie Next Pick


Review, CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, September 12, 2010:
"A perfect picture book for kids 3-7."

Review, THE BOSTON GLOBE, October 3, 2010:
"A picture book all about the joys of reading could easily turn preachy and dull. But “How Rocket Learned to Read’’ defies gravity. Rocket is lovable, the little feathered teacher adorable. Hills tells his sprightly story as needed, not one word more or less. His pictures flow with soft color and movement. Hills makes this a story of friendship. It may persuade tentative kindergarteners that school is worth a try; teachers and librarians will love it."

Review, KIRKUS REVIEWS, June 15, 2010:
"Hills’s gentle, sweet tale is a paean to the joy of reading and the teachers that inspire it."

Review, PUBLISHERS WEEKLY, June 14, 2010:
"With characters as memorable as those in Hills’s Duck and Goose series, this good-natured story shows readers how Rocket, a spotted puppy, becomes a beginning reader, thanks to a little yellow bird."

Review, SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL, July 2010:
"Youngsters will find this addition to Hills’s cast of adorable animal characters simply irresistible."

School Library Journal
Gr 2—An endearing white dog with black spots loves chasing leaves and chewing sticks. He also loves napping under his favorite tree. Then his sleep is interrupted one spring day by a tiny yellow bird that designates him her first student. Rocket wants no part of her lessons, but the bird is determined to teach him to read. She returns each day, hangs an alphabet banner from the trees, and gushes, "Ah, the wondrous, mighty, gorgeous alphabet." Then she begins to read a story, stopping at an enticing part. Overcome by curiosity to hear more, Rocket eventually enters into the bird's lessons, and the two have a grand time using the "mighty, gorgeous alphabet" to spell out all the things in Rocket's world. The bird leaves as winter approaches, but Rocket continues practicing, spelling everything in sight. And when Bird returns the following spring, a tail-wagging, eager-to-read student greets her with joy. The illustrations, rendered in oil and colored pencil, offer full pages, spreads, and oval vignettes. They depict Rocket in all his various moods, from diagonal brows raised in displeasure to delight at his teacher's return. Adults will love the bird's enthusiasm, her use of stories, and her ability to associate lessons with Rocket's everyday life to win over her reluctant pupil. Youngsters will find this addition to Hills's cast of adorable animal characters simply irresistible.—Marianne Saccardi, formerly at Norwalk Community College, CT
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780375858994
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 7/27/2010
  • Pages: 40
  • Sales rank: 33,518
  • Age range: 3 - 5 Years
  • Lexile: AD600L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 9.60 (w) x 10.60 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Tad Hills

Tad Hills is the author and illustrator of the New York Times bestselling picture books Duck & Goose and Duck, Duck, Goose. He has created four board books featuring the same characters: What's Up, Duck?, an ALA Notable Book; Duck and Goose, 1, 2, 3; Duck & Goose, How Are You Feeling?; and Duck and Goose Find a Pumpkin. He is also the illustrator of Waking Up Wendell, by April Stevens; My Fuzzy Friends; and Knock, Knock, Who's There? Tad Hills lives in Brooklyn with his wife, their two children, and a dog named Rocket who has not (yet) learned how to read!

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 28 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(7)

4 Star

(9)

3 Star

(4)

2 Star

(5)

1 Star

(3)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 28 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 17, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Your child will LOVE Rocket!

    How Rocket Learned to Read is an adorable story of an enthusiastic little bird and her very first, albeit unsuspecting, pupil. Everyday, Rocket chased leaves and chewed sticks and when all the good play tired him out he would settle in for a nice, long nap. Then one day, the eager little bird sets up her classroom right in Rocket's napping spot and mistakenly thinks he is one of her students. Rocket moves away from the bird, but she has hung up her glorious alphabet banner and begun to read him a wonderful story out loud. Rocket becomes entranced with the story and soon wants more. He comes back everyday until the weather turns and his wonderful teacher flies south for the winter. Rocket practices his letters and his words all winter until he is reunited with his favorite teacher in the spring. This is just a glorious book about the magic of words and the beauty in reading. Young children on the cusp of literacy will identify with Rocket and learn to read right alongside him. Those children who have acquired literacy skills already, will be reminded how marvelous the process is and little ones who still have a ways to go will be motivated. The illustrations make this book a perfect "10". They complement the story making Rocket and his little yellow teacher, wonderfully appealing. Every child should have this book!

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 13, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    This book is great

    My five year old loves this book. He also liked it when he was four. It is charming, the pictures engaging, and the pace is just right.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 7, 2011

    Very sweet...

    Beautiful illustrations. A very sweet, reassuring story for the preschool set. Bought this for a birthday gift. Think I will have to buy another for my own preschooler.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 17, 2011

    PRE-K WINNER

    Great read for the child who is interested in letters, reading, or school. Charming story with great illustrations! It's an instant favorite in our house.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 7, 2014

    This book is certainly a winner and it is quite understandable w

    This book is certainly a winner and it is quite understandable why it became a New York Times- bestselling picture book.  If you are not familiar with Tad Hills's work then you are in for a treat indeed.




     Rocket, an adorable little pup, loves chewing sticks and having naps. One day his whole life changes. He hears someone reading a story out loud. He is so enamoured by the story that he comes back the next day to find out how the story ends.   The story reader is an irresistible, smart yellow bird whose goal is to teach Rocket to read.   She inspires him with enchanting stories in her book collection so he understands why reading is fun and also necessary.  She lures him in by the power of words, imagination and the creativity that books contain. As she reads out loud to him she purposely does not finish stories so his curiosity will bring him back again the next day to see how the story ends.  Such a successful teacher is she that when she flies south for the winter Rocket continues on his reading journey all on his own,  just because he is hooked and thrilled to do so.  Rocket not only discovers the joy of reading but makes a cherished friend to share the love of books with, namely the little yellow bird.   The illustrations are perfect.  The expressive and cartoonish pictures bring the story to life.  I highly recommend this book to both parents and teacher's alike.  Learning to read is a very important milestone in a child's life and this amazing book can get him/her off to an excellent start on a very exciting adventure into the world of words and stories.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 25, 2013

    Highly Recommend

    This is a very cute story that may be used to help inspire young children to also become young readers.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 5, 2013

    Very inspiring story!

    I read and gave this cute story to my grandson. He was inspired to create a story of his own with things around him. He writes words in a notebook, and we sit and come up with short stories for him to write down. He then reads and re-reads them to everyone. It will be awesome to keep his collection in tact for when he is older to see.

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