Linda Kulp Trout

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Poetry Friday: Tugg and Teeny

As a teacher, I'm always looking for books that will excite and motivate young readers.  I'm especailly looking for books that will interest boys.  I'm happy to share a fantastic new book with you that readers of all ages are going to love.  Tugg and Teeny, Sleeping Bear Press,  is a new beginning reader written by one of our favorite poets, J. Patrick Lewis.  Tugg, a gorilla, and Teeny, a monkey, are two lovable characters who, along with their friends,  live in the jungle and help each other through life's challenges.

In this first of the three book series, Teeny strives to achieve his dreams. He tackles a different goal (becoming a musician, an artist, a poet) in each of three chapters. No matter what he decides to try,   his best friend, Tugg, is always by his side to lend a hand or offer advice.

I especially love the way Teeny takes risks and tries new things. I think this sends an important message to kids that it's okay to step out of their comfort zone, and try something new. Even though Teeny doesn't always succeed at first, with the encouragement of his friend Tugg, he continues to try. Tugg is the kind of friend we all hope for: dependable, loyal, and supportive.

Reader of all ages will enjoy the three separate stories in this early chapter book.  The brightly-colored illustrations by Chistopher Denise help bring life to these adorable characters.  (He did a fabulous job of showing their personalities.) Although the book is written with beginning readers (grades 2-3)  in mind, I think the stories will work as excellent models to teach writing skills (dialogue, point-of-view, plot, etc.) to my middle school students. 

As I mentioned above, Tugg and Teeny is part of a three-book series.  I love that because once kids are introduced to these characters, they'll be ravenous readers begging for each book that follows. The next book, Jungle Surpries, comes out May 2011. I can't wait!  Check out the  Tugg and Teeny website  for more about upcoming titles in the series and activity pages. Tugg and Teeny is sure to put a smile on your face.  If you've read it, I've love to hear ways you're using it with your students and/or your own children.  I have a feeling this series is going to be very popular!