How Rocket Learned to Read

What It Is

Rocket, a cuddly dog, loved to play and play. One day, he meets a little yellow bird, who is a teacher and asks Rocket to be her student. At first, Rocket isn’t at all interested in learning and chooses to take his morning nap instead. But he quickly becomes captivated by a story the bird reads and joins her “class.” Like any beginning reader, Rocket first learns the alphabet and the sounds each letter makes. When winter comes, the little bird heads south but Rocket keeps practicing. The return of spring brings a charming reunion for Rocket and the bird as they snuggle in with a stack of books to read together.

Why It’s Fun

Though the carefree days of summer are sadly coming to a close, author-illustrator Tad Hills effectively gets us in a back-to-school mood and we can almost feel those refreshingly crisp autumn mornings. The charming story and illustrations have the feel of a classic picture book and are a joy to read. Rocket is just such a sweet character, and I hope Mr. Hills has plans for other books with him as the “star.” Be sure to show your kids Mr. Hills’ bio and photo on the back jacket flap; he is pictured with his dog whose name really is Rocket!

Who’s Going To Love It

Parents, teachers and students will love this story, and it’s a fabulous pick for the classroom or home library. Kids will identify with Rocket who, just like a child, loves playing and being “free” in the great outdoors. On a deeper level, the story draws a meaningful parallel to the child who initially may be a reluctant student but quickly becomes an eager learner with growing confidence in his or her abilities. The story is a bit longer in length than others, so some kids on the younger end of the publisher’s recommended 3-to-7 age range may get restless. However, for kindergarten and early grade school, “Rocket” is a fantastic back-to-school read.

Reading Time

About five minutes

Read-It-Again Points

9 out of 10

Book Information

How Rocket Learned to Read
By: Written and Illustrated by Tad Hills
Published by: Schwartz & Wade Books, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books (2010)
Approximate retail price: $17.99 (hardcover)
Publisher’s recommended ages: 3 - 7


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