Beginning readers will feel a real sense of accomplishment as they read this collection of short stories aloud. Written with mostly one-syllable, and easy two- and three-syllable words, it is an easy way to increase vocabulary and reading skills. Dialogue is another aspect that readers will see throughout, as almost all of the text is conversations between Digby, a dog, and Kate, a cat. Digby and Kate are friends, despite their natural, and potential, predisposition to be enemies. Each of the six stories about these two characters focuses on friendship, and yet each has its own distinct, and very basic, plot. Digby and Kate are always polite to each other, even when their patience is tested. This book would be appropriate for a general reading class, particularly if the students were to read aloud the simple dialogues. A lack of contractions also makes this a good way for readers to understand the basics of written language. This title is a level 2 "Puffin Easy-To-Read" book. 2004 (orig. 1988), Penguin Young Readers Group, Ages 6 to 9.
Cherie Ilg Haas
Gr 1-3 Six comfortable tales of two good friends fill this book with easy-to-read material. Digby, a dog, and Kate, a cat, are friends even when the other is a bother. Their friendship is much like that of Marshall's ``George and Martha'' (Houghton). In the stories Digby is so loud that he alerts the mouse that Kate is trying to catch; they share lunch and Digby gets stuck with the dishes; they paint a room; go to the beach; respond to an invitation; and exchange presents. ``The Present'' is sure to be a favorite part of this book as Kate is given a dog bone by her dog friend Digby and Digby receives a red felt mouse from Kate. ``Kate chewed on her new bone. Digby played with his red felt mouse. They were happy together. Because they were wonderful friends.'' That quote aptly summarizes the essence of the book's theme, as well as demonstrates the only problem with the book. Incomplete sentences have crept into it, and early readers do not need poor sentence structure. Other authors such as Lobel, Minarik, Rylant, and Brandenberg have successfully combined easy reading with good literature. The colorful illustrations are cleverly conceived and executed. The mouse's hole is furnished with tiny furniture, and a red mailbox stands at the gate to the path leading to Kate's picturesque cottage. Cozy scenes abound. This book could have been a superstar. Sharron McElmeel, Cedar Rapids Community Schools, Iowa
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