Week 6: Little Elliot, Big City and Beginner Reading

Curato, M. (2014). Little Elliot, big city. New York, NY: Henry Holt and Company, LLC.

Light, S. (2014). Have you seen my dragon? Somerville, MA: Candlewick Press.

Rex, A & Robinson, C. (2016). School’s first day. New York, NY: Roaring Brook Press.

Wenzel, B. (2016). They all saw a cat. San Francisco, CA: Chronicle Books, LLC.


Little Elliot, Big City is a good book for beginner readers because it follows a lot of Horning’s guidelines in regards to the unity of content and design. The text is large, and there is space between the lines, making it easy for the children to read. There is just one sentence per page, the lines never contain more than nine words, and they are of varying length. According to Horning, beginner readers should never have more than ten words on a line (2010). The book also has an ample amount of white space around the text that allows for the children to rest their eyes.

The illustrations complement the text by sharing the space of the page nicely and give clues as to what is going on in the story. For example, the last page states simply, “…and something even better,” which related to the page before. The “something better” is never explicitly stated, but the illustration shows Elliot and Mouse talking in his cozy apartment, which leads kids to correctly predict that friendship was that “something better,” which then gives them confidence in their ability to read and understand the story. The “essential clues” supplied by the illustrations also help to balance some of the more difficult word choices “that young readers may find difficult” (Horning, 2010, p. 125), like the word “challenging,” which is portrayed by Elliot doing difficult household tasks in a unique manner.


Horning, K. T. (2010). From Cover to Cover: Evaluating and Reviewing Children’s Books (Revised ed.). New York, NY: HarperCollins.


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