Monday, March 30, 2015

Digby O'Day in the Fast Lane by Shirley Hughes

Digby O'Day in the Fast Lane by Shirley Hughes, illustrated by Clara Vulliamy
Candlewick Press

Rating: 4 stars

I was at a Society for Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) conference over the weekend and learned something new. I actually learned a lot of new somethings, but this is the one pertaining to Digby O'Day in the Fast Lane: Squeezed between I Can Read early readers and middle grade is the "chapter book" genre for, generally speaking, 5 to 8 year olds. Within that there are a bunch of books cropping up that have a whole lot of pictures, some easier text, and are divided into chapters. These are called "early chapter books."

Digby O'Day is an early chapter book. It's the sort of book for kids who are wanting to read chapter books like their peers but aren't ready for them. Now, they can put this in their hands and feel comfortable knowing they're part of the reading chapter books crowd. If you click at the bottom of this blogpost on early chapter books, you'll see a few of the ones I've read and reviewed.

For some reason, Ben timed me when I read this. When I remarked on how quickly he read it, he handed it to me while we were sitting in the carpool lane, waiting to pick up Kiefer from preschool last week. "It took you eight minutes, Mom!" he reported. Ben's quirky competitiveness now gives you an idea of how long it took me to read it, and you can double that time for a kindergartener reading on-level and add more time for a child struggling to read.

Digby drove, and Percy admired the view.
Getting to the book, written by one of my favorite childhood authors Shirley Hughes (and illustrated by her daughter--how fun!):

This is a cute, please-everyone story of a dog named Digby, his pal Percy, and how they race against their sworn (okay, really there's not any swearing in this book) enemy Lou Ella. Lou Ella is a fancy-schmancy woman with a fancy-schmancy car that she upgrades at least once a year. She can always afford the nicest car but doesn't know a thing about fixing them up; Digby O'Day and his pal Percy are always stuck with their cute clunker but they make it run as smoothly as possible with their own two paws. Or four paws?

These three characters enter a race and, in tortoise-and-hare style, Lou Ella is so far in front that she decides to stop and have lunch. This plan backfires when lunch takes too long and Digby and Percy putt-putt by her and win the race. These three are likable characters...and they'll be back! This is the first in the series; two more are slated for publication within a year or two.

As always, happy reading!

No comments:

Post a Comment