As a teacher of early learners, K-2 in particular, I was always on the lookout for useful books for the classroom. I have found one that is great for students to read at home and at school. I am not a fan of the “guided reading” programs currently pushed in many school districts. A large number of the book selections are frankly boring. Reading should be fun! Pedro, First Grade Hero is a book young readers will enjoy. Its anticipated release date by Capstone Press is September 1, 2016, and I highly recommend it! I personally would use it in reading groups and then send it home for kids to enjoy there as well.
Pedro, First Grade Hero
by Fran Manuskin
Pedro, First Grade Hero, is a delightful “chapter book” for early readers. Children usually want to read chapter books like their teacher models for them. Unfortunately most chapter books are just too difficult for them to read independently. Pedro, First Grade Hero, however, comes to the rescue for the beginning reader. It is actually a collection of four stories, all about Pedro. The readability level, length of the stories, and interest level is perfect for first graders as is the focus of each story.
Pedro is a very likable little boy. In the first story, “Pedro Goes Buggy,” Pedro has to find a bug to write about in school. Discussions about the best bug ensue in the classroom and at home. Even his little brother Paco gets involved in the fun. The story has a nice resolution and ends on a humorous note. For the teacher who likes to integrate learning strands, language arts, math and science provide easy tie-ins.
“Pedro’s Big Goal” draws in boys and girls who love soccer. This chapter has “bigger is not always better” as well as “keep trying” as its themes. Children will enjoy the ending and teachers can help them appreciate the play on words.
Most people love a good mystery as do Pedro and his friends who form a mystery club in the third story, trying to find a missing locket and cell phone. Good vocabulary words include sparkle, locket, and chirping.
The final story, “Pedro for President,” teaches Pedro and his friend Katie Woo what is involved in being class president. As they ponder what they have to offer the class, little brother Paco “helps” with the election poster and Pedro creatively turns that effort into a positive. Pedro, who always encourages his classmates and promotes fairness in the election, is the obvious favorite for president.
The illustrations by Tammie Lyon are colorful, appealing, and depict well the characters’ emotions and reactions. Teachers interested in promoting multi-cultural cohesiveness in their classrooms will appreciate the inclusion of children of various backgrounds. At the end of this book are four pages of jokes in the riddle format that will delight first graders.
I would like to thank netgalley.com and the publisher, Capstone Press, for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an unbiased review.