by Nick Bruel
Bad Kitty Gets a Bath
My younger daughter is right at what I find is the most difficult phase in learning to read. The easy books that are perfectly at her level are way too boring, and the more interesting books, i.e. the ones her older sister is reading, are way too hard. But, we recently discovered an absolute gem in Bad Kitty Gets a Bath by Nick Bruel.
We first met Bad Kitty a few years ago with the original alphabet book about a kitty forced to eat healthy vegetables. It starts, “She wasn’t always a bad kitty. She used to be a good kitty, until one day….” You get the idea. Its good – one of those picture books I’m still happy to pick up because it is perfectly silly with humor that both kids and adults find funny. As opposed to say, Amelia Bedelia.
Now Bad Kitty is back in a chapter book and she needs a bath. The drawings are plentiful and expressive, and the pacing of the book is perfect for a 1st grader bored with Nate the Great but not quite ready for Geronimo Stilton. Some pages are a little more difficult with a lot of text, but then some pages have only a couple of lines or even just one word, such as “LICK”. There are a few difficult words in the book, but it is so engaging that Georgia was encouraged to struggle through them and ask what they mean. There is a glossary at the back of more difficult terms. Of course the glossary is just as silly as the rest of the book and includes a definition of glossary (as it should).
This phase of learning to read is challenging for me as a parent because I get impatient and find so many of the books at this level are mind-numbingly simple. At the same time, I know there is a part of Georgia that is reluctant to leap head first into reading by herself because it means I won’t read to her as much. If I could find a hundred books like Bad Kitty Gets a Bath, I would be happy to stay in this phase for a long time.
– Jessica Wheeler