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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

What Are You Doing? Written by Elisa Amado and illustrated by Manuel Monroy. Groundwood, 2011. $16.95 ages 3 and up

""Did you learn how to read
on your first day of school?"
asked his mother.
"No, but I can tell by the
pictures," said Chepito.
"Shall I read you the story,
Rosita?" he asked."

It's the first day of school for Chepito and he's not too keen on making the trip there with his mother and little sister. Mom reminds him that they will be going after lunch. In the meantime, Chepito is out the door and off to learn about his neighborhood.

He meets a big man first. The man is reading the newspaper and when Chepito asks why, he tells the boy that he wants to read the game scores. Hmm! A bit further away, Chepito meets a girl reading a comic. Why, he wonders. It's funny, she says.

As he makes his rounds he sees many people reading a variety of things...a guidebook, a manual, a magazine, and even hieroglyphics. There is so much to learn in the world, and Chepito's awareness of that is growing. Upon entering his new classroom, Chepito is delighted to see a book shelf. What an invitation!

During the afternoon, his teacher reads a book to the class and Chepito is able to take it home with him. Now, he has new learning to pass on to his little sister, Rosita. And she is a most willing listener!

The soft and gentle collage illustrations offer a charm that matches the inspiring text...a testament to the importance of reading role models for children just discovering the wonder of books. There are many reasons for reading and the author cleverly instills that lesson in a book that should find a place of importance in school classrooms, home libraries and on your gift list for little ones.

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