Charlie the guinea pig is the star of this very fun read aloud. He escapes his cage for an "adventure on the coast." When he arrives, he tries out for a movie part of a sad man trying to get his girl back and wins the part, hence the title, Charlie Hits it Big. Deborah Blumenthal creates a guinea pig with a huge personality that will appeal to all kids. His confidence is evident early on when he orders his tomato juice "On the rocks, baby!" from the flight attendant on the way to Los Angeles. Charlie is definitely the star of this book because of his funny words, but illustrator Denise Brunkus of Junie B. completes the character with her bright entertaining pictures. She captures Charlies personality from the Hollywood sunglasses to the dark and handsome fur dye job. This book has been great fun in the pit this week. Many of the kids are reminded of Alvin of the Chipmunks, and laugh from beginning to end.
The second book has not been "PIT TESTED" as of yet, but will be appearing in a STORY PIT near you very soon! Help Me, Mr. Mutt by Janet Stevens and Susan Stevens Crummel is a great lesson in letter writing. Dogs seek the advice from Mr. Mutt regarding owners that ignore them, make them eat only dry dog food and other dog annoyances. Mr. Mutt always responds with advice that makes the owners look pretty silly and negligent. In each of his responses he makes fun of The Cat. Between each set of dog letters is a letter of response from The Queen aka The Cat, warning Mr. Mutt that she will get him for his comments. The end features a kidnapping and rescue that is very exciting and humorous. This book will not only make for a fun read aloud, it would work great for lessons on letter writing as well.
Here's another review at Young Readers.