Fall Into Reading with Danny and MaryRuth Books

Posted by Big Universe on Oct 4, 2012 1:43:43 AM

Danny & Abby running through leaves.

One of the wonderful things about seasonal events is that they provide a backdrop to engage emerging and developing readers in something that is already part of their lives.

MaryRuth Books' trademark series of easy readers features Danny the dog. As founder and author Mia Coulton explains, the books center around "Danny's escapades."

What sets these (and other) MaryRuth easy readers apart for me is not just Danny (lots of children's books do that), but that they have the look and feel of a "real book."

  • Traditionally early easy readers are 6-inches by 9-inches and scream some form of "I can read" on the cover. These books are sized for small hands, but have a picture book shape. You'll find all the important information about word count in the cover ... but not in a spot the kids are likely to read.
  • Photographs (rather than illustrations) make the events more "real" for young readers and the photography makes the scenery more vivid for exploring and decoding.
  • The text encourages readers to explore the photos, not just use them for coding. For example, in Danny's Five Little Pumpkins, there are no references to Danny in the story, but he is hiding in the corner of several pictures.

Other books in the Danny series are shaped more like chapter books, but these early readers have a comfortable square that remind kids of picture books and add to the confidence that I am reading a book just like the kind Mom reads to me. Here are three titles that will carry you from now well into winter! Click the title to read them on BigUniverse.com.

Danny and the Four Seasons
written and photographed by Mia Coulton
page count: 16
word count: 55

In a series of images, Danny shows readers what the season is. At the end, readers have the opportunity to name each of the seasons themselves.

This is an any-time book that you can pick up in any season. It is great not just for emerging readers, but also toddlers and preschool-aged kids still listening to books. The scenery offers the reader (adult) a chance to ask listeners to identify objects from the text (leaves, pool, flowers, snow) or from the photos (trees, chair, house, and colors).

Danny's Five Little Pumpkins
written and photographed by Mia Coulton
page count: 16
word count: 51

On this fence there are five little pumpkins. One by one they disappear. Who is taking them away?
You won't see Danny (or more specifically parts of Danny) on every page, but you see him frequently enough that kids will look for him as they explore the pictures. This easy reader blends math (subtraction) with reading practice that ends with Danny and five jack-o-lanterns.

Snow Danny
written and photographed by Mia Coulton
page count: 16
word count: 57

There are lots of things you can do in the snow: walk, dive, look at your shadow, even play in an igloo.


The text is simple but each sentence centers around action verbs. With several two-syllable words, this is a book where you'll want to have young readers follow under the word with a finger so they can truly parse the digraphs and sounds. Kids will especially love the picture of Danny and Bee at the end.

MaryRuth Books has 30 of its titles that you can read on BigUniverse.com. These engaging books will help young dog, cat, fish, elephant, or horse lovers build their word banks AND a love of reading.




Topics: Reviews, Literacy

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