Early Readers – Big Surprise in the Bug Tank

Sam and Leo are thrilled when their entomologist mother lets them keep giant hissing cockroaches as pets. But their delight turns to anxiety when they find baby roaches in the bug tank. A few baby cockroaches is not a problem, but if the bugs keep multiplying, the tank will be filled to overflowing. Their mom assures them that the library has the solution to the problem. The brothers set out to give away the baby bugs, but – big surprise- none of the adults want the insects, or will let their kids have them as pets. Even a contest at the library doesn’t help. But there are other resources at the library, that just might be what the boys need.

This book is a Dial Easy-to-Read Level 3. It is intended for readers who are comfortable reading alone, but are not quite ready for chapter books yet. There are four or five sentences on each page, or, in many cases, seven or eight sentences on one page, with a full-page illustration on the opposing page. The text includes compound sentences and dialog. The illustrations, done with watercolor, gouache, and acrylic paints, are bright and energetic. They reflect the text.

This book is notable not just for its quiet humor as the boys attempt to give away cockroaches, but also for its subtle reminder that solutions can be found in books. Having more information about a subject is a great first step towards solving a problem. Children ready to read this book on their own are just entering the stage at which they will be able to independently research topics on their own as well, and it’s great to see this book encouraging that behavior.

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