CM . . .
. Volume XIV Number 5 . . . . October 26, 2007
Part of the “Step into Reading Program,” this Level 3 book is meant for children who are ready to tackle new vocabulary and read on their own. The story begins in Scotland in 1874, where “Alec” began to experiment with sound, and follows the development of the telephone and Alec’s successful presentation of his new invention at the World’s Fair in Philadelphia in 1876. Large text, plenty of repetition and only one or two simple sentences per page are geared to helping young readers practise their reading skills and gain meaning from context. Occasionally, the repetition can be a bit monotonous, but generally this book delivers on its promise to provide “easy-to-follow plots” and “engaging characters.” With the exception of a black-and-white photograph of Bell taken in 1892, the illustrations are rendered in watercolours and match the text, further adding to the reader’s understanding of the story and the time in which it took place. An early telephone cone appears in the lower left-hand corner of the page on three occasions, serving as a time line. Illustrations are fairly basic, with not too much detail, but they are often infused with a bit of humour.
Though certainly not the best book for beginning readers, this title does serve its purpose.
Gail Hamilton is a teacher-librarian in Winnipeg, MB.
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