In another tale of Mr. Putter’s and Tabby’s adventures, Mr. Putter signs the two up for a story time with pets at the local library, which, of course encourages Mrs. Teaberry to follow suit and sign up herself and her dog Zeke, as well. The storyline is easy to follow and predictable with a rambunctious Zeke wreaking havoc, Mr. Putter’s overly zealous initiative in pre-planning, and everything ending peacefully.
APPROPRIATE TARGET AUDIENCE:
School Library Journal suggests the Mr. Putter & Tabby series for grades kindergarten through second grade, while other publishers suggest that the books could span from preschool to fourth grade. The books are always very easy to follow, cover positive issues and just have a feel good nature to them. I believe these books are excellent for advanced preschoolers to remedial third or fourth graders as far as reading level is concerned, but, content-wise are acceptable for all ages elementary or younger.
Animals and Elderly: The main characters in the Mr. Putter and Tabby series include two elderly people, a cat and a dog. You would generally not associate a lot of relevance with a younger audience for characters so different than the reader, but it just works with this series, which is wonderful in its own regard helping children feel more connected to an older generation.
Illustrations: The watercolor illustrations in the book(s) are fun and inviting for the younger target audience, aiding in a better understanding of what is going on in the book, as well as keeping the children engaged. The facial expressions of Mr. Putter and Mrs. Teaberry are always fun to see, especially when Zeke does something mischievous.
Lacking Conflict/Climax: Having read other books in the Mr. Putter & Tabby series, this one is probably my least favorite because of the bland storyline. Ultimately, the only conflict(s) in the story included what book Mr. Putter was going to read and Zeke eating the librarian’s lunch. Otherwise, the book is very cut and dry about Mr. Putter and Mrs. Teaberry signing up to read at the library with their animals, while others in the series have a much more rambunctious Zeke for hilarity and many more awkward moments between the character foils of Mr. Putter and Mrs. Teaberry.
In the classroom:
Having been in the secondary setting for eleven years, I actually had a hard time mixing it up with potential lessons for this book, and that could be due to my lack of expertise in children’s literature, my less than stellar personal review of the book or a combination of both. However, I have compiled some helpful resources for using the Mr. Putter & Tabby series in an elementary setting below:
Out of the classroom:
Bridging Generational Gaps: These books would be so fun to include in a family or grandparents day at a public library and either have a read aloud (as is done in the story) or spread copies of the books between the families and have them do their own pairing and sharing. It would also be neat to have children go into retirement homes and read and share the adventures with the residents there.
- ALA Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor Book
IF YOU LIKE MR. PUTTER & TABBY TURN THE PAGE, YOU WILL ALSO ENJOY:
- As previously mentioned, Rylant and Howard have many more in this series that, at least in my opinion, are much better reads with more drama and fun-loving adventures regrading Mr. Putter and the two animals, Tabby the cat and Zeke the dog. These really are light-hearted books with great visuals for children and adults to enjoy together!
- Rylant has another series, Henry and Mudge (where she teams up with Sucie Stevenson for the illustrations) about companionship between a dog and, this time, a young human, making the books even more relatable for the targeted elementary and younger audience. Children connect well with stories about animals, and if you enjoyed Rylant’s writing in the Mr. Putter & Tabby series, the Henry and Mudge books are equally as fun!
- James Howe and Melissa Sweet team up to create the Pinky and Rex series that is another great addition to Early Readers for pre-K and elementary readers. These books have very relatable themes intertwined with magical realism in this fun fiction that deals with themes such as bullying, changes, school and more!