Flip Flop! by Dana Meachen Rau

Cindy: If the cover of Flip Flop! (Random House 2011) doesn’t say “SUMMER,” I don’t know what does. Sitting on a dock with a friend, a popsicle, an ice cream cone and wearing flip flops….ah. The two girls in this book are not only wearing flip flops, but their minds are flip flopping with all the choices available to them on a summer day.

Flip! Flop!
We can’t decide.
Swim in the pool?
Or chase the tide?

The summer day is full of wonderful choices and bright illustrations by Jana Christy.This book is from a beginner reading series called Step Into Reading. Level One features big type face, short sentences, rhythm and rhyme and visual clues from the illustrations to help preschoolers enter the wonderful world of reading. The series has five levels that progresses in difficulty with vocabulary, sentence structure, and length and complexity of story.

Obviously these books are perfect for the youngest readers, but I have to share that they are very popular in my middle school with my special education and English Language Learner teachers for their students. Years ago I created a special collection that we labeled “GRAB Books.” A sign near the section announces “Get Reading A Book now!” and encourages students to check these out to read to younger siblings or students they are babysitting.  The stigma of checking out an “EASY” book (that isn’t easy at all if you are learning to read) is gone and students like the variety of fiction and nonfiction titles available from a variety of publishers that I’ve added to this collection.

Meanwhile…I’m doing my own flip flop: Read a new book or go play Scrabble at my friend’s pool? Ah….summer choices…bring ’em on!

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About the Author:

Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan are Booklist reviewers and middle-school librarians who have chaired both ALA’s Best Books for Young Adults and the Michael L. Printz Award for YA Literature committees. Follow Bookends on Twitter at @BookendsBlog. You can also find Cindy at @cdobrez and Lynn at @482april.

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