Early readers – Bright, Shiny Skylar

Skylar loves school, and she loves her teacher. She’s good at most subjects. What she’s not good at is sitting still. She’s always bouncing out of her chair with excitement and good ideas, and this often gets her into trouble. When the class is asked to make a mural for the cafeteria, Skylar’s impulsive clumsiness nearly ruins everything. Luckily, Skylar has a plan to fix things.

Bright, Shiny Skylar by Valerie Tripp is part of the Hopscotch Hill School series of early readers. The books are intended for children who are beginning to read independently. Each double-page spread has one picture on it, with the rest of the space taken up by sentences in a medium font. There are about six sentences on each page, with three mini-chapters.  Like all of the Hopscotch Hill School books, it ends with a “Dear Parents” section that guides parents through the theme of the book, suggesting discussion ideas and activities that can extend their child’s learning. The story itself is appealing, and many children will recognize themselves in Skylar’s impulsive behavior. The adults in the story do not feel oppressive in their interactions with Skylar. Her “bounciness” is shown to have clearly negative consequences – interrupting singing, ruining a project, or answering questions incorrectly – rather than just being a nuisance to the teacher. Although the story can be somewhat heavyhanded at times, it is still a worthwhile read.

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