By Kate DiCamillo, published 2005-2010
“The cat ran out of the kitchen. The pig ran after him. It was a chase. Mercy loved a chase.”
It’s easy to love Kate DiCamillo’s writing, as she seems to know just what children enjoy. In the Mercy Watson children’s book series, the enjoyment is about silliness. The books are really an excuse to give early readers a chance to master reading without any difficult passages to understand. Each children’s book (there are six) contains funny illustrations to capture the spirit of the plot, whatever it may be. The print is large, and for the most part, the vocabulary is suited for the young reader, ages 5 to 8. These are all “First Chapter” books, which means they are longer than early readers, but the language is not necessarily more complicated.
The two books I read in the series, Mercy Watson Thinks Like a Pig, and Mercy Watson, Princess in Disguise, showed me just how easy DiCamillo makes it for the new readers. In each book, just a few sentences, the reader is oriented to the characters, so there is no need to worry about which book to read first. The rest of the story unfolds chapter by chapter.
As a reading specialist, I know how important it is to match a book to the child’s interest and temperament. I appreciate the fact that an excellent writer like DiCamillo has taken the time to create children’s books worthy of being read, while being simple and accessible to many kids.