The Magic Wand by Karen Hoenecke. il Kevin Hawkes.
School Zone Publishing Company: 1997.

This has some wonderful pictures-imaginative and beautifully drawn. Other than that, I really don't like it. The rhymes are simple as can be, as well as the words, because it is a Start to Read book. Except for the illustrations, the book is uninteresting, and I would have rather just seen the pictures. There are other beginning readers that are much better (ex.Henry and Mudge, Mr. Putter and Tabby, Commander Toad, Amelia Bedelia, Berenstain Bears), though only a few authors have created interesting stories with limited vocabulary.

My recommendation for beginners is to find the good authors and/or skip the readers and write your own sentences to teach phonics. Parents know their kids better than anyone else. Parents ought to know better than anyone what content will motivate their children to read a sentence. To teach my kids to read I made a few sentences for each letter of the alphabet drawing from things in our lives. Some simple words, some a little harder. Then, I had them sound them out with my help. Not more than a few sentences in a day. Kids move beyond this level very quickly. After that, picture books are great practice. The real challenge with reading comes later, with finding chapter books and novels that will hook the child.

My recommendation for the use of this book would be to view it with toddlers or even earlier, with an emphasis on exploring the pictures.

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