Sparky and Tidbit
written by Kathryn O. Galbraith; illustrated by Gerald Kelley
2015 (Simon Spotlight)
Source: Review copy provided by the publisher
Sparky the dog wants to be a hero. His Uncle Spot sends him a new K-9 collar, hat, and badge so he looks the part. Now he needs something to happen so he can be a hero. Unfortunately, it's fairly quiet around the neighborhood. About to lose hope, Sparky hears "Yip, Yip, Yip". Could someone be having trouble with raccoons? Ducks? It turns out to be a pup named Tidbit. Seems he is having trouble reading a book. Tidbit gets so frustrated that he bites the book. Sparky tells him, "No biting" and encourages him to slow down. This isn't the hero work that Sparky wants, but he manages to keep a straight muzzle as Tidbit reads a whole page. Tidbit is so excited that he asks Sparky to listen to him the next day. Sparky hems and haws but agrees to continue. By the end of the week, Tidbit is much more confident. His teacher, Ms. Beagle, notices the improvement. She's so impressed that she writes Sparky a letter asking him to become the official listener for her class. Soon a class of pups is reading to and being encouraged by Sparky.
Sparky and Tidbit is the kind of book that you need in a first or second grade class. It's inexpensive in paperback, has an appealing story line, and will pass through several hands. Readers in the H-J range will most appreciate it. I like that the book focuses on reading volunteers. There are usually several in a school so students will be able to easily make connections. It's also nice that kids who struggle with reading get to be heroes in a book. Your young pups will enjoy this story!