Sunday, November 8, 2020

Review: Meg and Greg: A Duck in a Sock by Elspeth Rae and Rowena Rae


by Elspeth Rae and 
Rowena Rae
Illustrated by Elisa Gutierrez
Orca Book Publishers
Children's Beginner Readers
169 pages
ages 6 to 9

A Duck in a Sock is the first book in a series designed for shared reading between a child learning to read and an experienced reader. The stories have special features to help a child with dyslexia or another language-based learning difficulty find reading success.

Meg and Greg are hanging out for the summer doing what ten-year-olds do—helping an injured duckling, finding a lost pet fish, saving ranch animals from a wildfire and catching a wandering sloth! Jump inside to join Meg and Greg on their adventures. 


With fun stories, tons of illustrations and animal adventures, this book helps readers with language-based learning difficulties find their way to master some words.

This is a book with a purpose—to help kids with dyslexia and other reading difficulties learn to read. Focusing on words with 'ck', 'sh', 'ch', and 'th', each story presents words with these sounds in a fashion, which should make it easier for these types of readers to learn.

The book starts out with a foreword, addressing how each story is to be read. The four stories are based on a two-reader system, with the adult/buddy reader taking the left side of the page (which holds heavier text and words), leaving the fun, graphic novel form on the right side for the child to read. Both sides have the focused on words in large, black font. The spacing of the words, coloring and such take a form, which is centered around making reading easier for kids with these difficulties. Each story is divided into chapters, making it simple to do the reading in small sections. At the end of each story, are several activities, which help readers to revisit the words and work with them. At the end of the book, there is more information surrounding the methodology and useage of this system.

As to the stories, they center around a brother and sister (Meg and Greg), who come across as very natural kids. They run across various animals, are always helpful, and run into some sticky situations...all which are gentle in nature while still holding a little bit of excitement. There's even a smidgen of humor built in, which creates an enjoyable read. There are twists and turns, which make it hard to guess where the tale is headed, and this also guarantees that readers will be curious enough to want to read the stories to the end.

The graphic novel like set-up is something I can only give a thumbs-up to. This form is very popular among young readers and allows the idea of reading a story come across more gently, than chucking a book at these kids. The illustrations support the text and keep it broken up enough to steer clear of becoming overwhelming. And the two-reader system insures that kids don't have to tackle this alone. 

Summed up, this is a lovely way to approach young readers with reading problems without scaring them off. It offers support, fun, and practice with a duo, which readers are sure to connect to. And those who love animals are going to enjoy this one even more.

And here they are...

Elspeth Rae has a BEd from Simon Fraser University and is a certified Orton-Gillingham teacher for children with dyslexia and other language-learning difficulties. Elspeth was diagnosed with dyslexia at age eight and received Orton-Gillingham instruction during her school years. As a certified teacher, she works as a literacy specialist in the public school system, where she teaches reading, spelling, and writing to children ages five to thirteen. She lives in Vancouver with her husband and three children.

Rowena Rae worked as a biologist in canda and New Zealand before becoming a freelance writer and editor and a childfren's author. She wirtes both fiction and nonfiction from her home in Victoria, British Columbia, which she shares with her two book-loving children.

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