Over the years we have built up a collection of readers for our beginner, emerging and independent readers. I am always searching for books that will fully engage and nurture a love of reading, yet as each child has their own preference, what one enjoys may not appeal to another, and as a couple of our children have been late readers this has been yet another challenge to finding books that are engaging but not daunting.
Today as Jelly Bean read aloud another Mercy Watson book to me I reflected upon how truly enjoyable and unique this series of six books are. We only found the series recently but are totally ‘hooked’. Written by Kate DiCamillo they are a great transition from beginner readers to chapter books.
Mercy, a pig is the beloved ‘child’ of Mr and Mrs Watson. They call her “Mercy my darling, my dear, my porcine wonder”. The books are totally humorous and appealing, with various mix ups resulting from the Watsons treating Mercy as a child. Though Mercy is clearly a pig, she never speaks, never takes on a ‘people persona’, it is the Watsons who are irrational.
Each Mercy adventure involves the elderly next door neighbours Eugenia and Baby Lincoln, I admit the name Baby for such an elderly lady is rather surreal, yet it adds humour to the storylines. Every adventure often includes the local fire brigade or police. At the conclusion of each story Mercy always enjoys hot buttered toast, her favourite treat with her ‘family’, neigbours and fellow adventurers.
The illustrations are bright and attractive, the cartoon style portraying a 1950s setting. The books are picture heavy, published on bright glossy white paper, making them very attractive. The text is not overwhelming and the words are double spaced, not daunting at all. Whilst many of the words are easy for the new reader to read, there are also a few challenging and interesting words, good vocabularly additions. Considered suitable for 6 to 9 year olds reading ability.
These are definitely a new family favourite, not only fascinating for the children but interesting for adults to listen to as well. Not at all the like the readers where you sit there mentally running away screaming because they are soo boring and you’ve been listening to learner readers read boring books forever and ever…. I’ve promised the children we’re buying our own set and returning the library copies.
Highly recommended, 5 Star