If you have a son, you probably recognize Dav Pilkey's name. You probably think of those books about a superhero in his underwear that you either tolerate because -- "Hey, at least he's reading" (which is where I think I'll be in a year or so), or you forbid because "Enough with the potty humor already."
When I was at Scholastic HQ over the weekend, they were promoting Dav Pilkey's new series,The Adventures of Ook and Gluk, Kung-Fu Cavemen from the Future (which I think I'll be able to review). I almost -- almost -- bought Kyle some Captain Underpants books, but they were a little above his reading level, and I am still not sure I want to go there.
When I saw Ricky Ricotta, I realized that this series is exactly what I've been looking for. With some prompting (and the promise of library summer reading rewards), he's done well reading independently this summer. These books are very early chapter books. There are still pictures on every page, and each page has only a few sentences, but there are about 10 chapters. It's a perfect introduction to a chapter book (and I would LOVE your recommendations about any others. I know all the early chapter books, and I think he'll be there soon, but if I can encourage him with more early readers on this level, that would be awesome.).
As thrilled as I am with this new development -- what does potty humor and comic book art have to do with the Award-Winning Children's Classic Challenge at 5 Minutes for Books, for which I'm writing this post?
Well, when searching Dav Pilkey at amazon, I saw The Paperboy by Dav Pilkey which featured that telltale silver Caldecott Honor medal. A quick trip to our library had this book in my hands in time to write about it today.
What an amazing contrast!
I'm not discounting his wildly popular books at all, but just look at that book's cover. The art and the story are equally beautiful. The story is about a paperboy who wakes up each Saturday before everyone in the house and everyone in the neighborhood, and delivers his papers (with his adorable Corgi dog).
The pre-dawn hours give Pilkey a chance to really show off. The use of light in the paintings is incredible (seriously--just look at the cover). The sunrise scene alone is worth looking at this book.
I love a lot of things about this book: the African American protagonist, the dog, the amazing paintings, the poetic meter of the non-rhyming text. There's one thing I don't like -- the end. I'm not being corny and saying that I am sad to see the book end. The last page is really corny and weird and is not consistent with the rest of the book (in my opinion).
I am thrilled that we discovered Dav Pilkey this week at Scholastic and at the library, both for the Caldecott honor book The Paperboy, and Ricky Ricotta.