New Tricks for the Old Dog: Ready-to-Read Level 2

Simon Spotlight/S. & S./. (Interrupting Cow). Dec. 2021. 32p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781534499508; pap. $4.99. ISBN 9781534499492.
K-Gr 2–This self-explanatory title takes two clichés and blends them together into one story. Though the concept is trite, young readers will find this early reader picture book accessible, with simple language and cartoonish animal illustrations. Interrupting Cow and Old Dog take turns telling the classic interrupting “knock knock” joke groaner, after which it becomes apparent that they need some new material. Interrupting Cow then proceeds to try to teach Old Dog a variety of new tricks, including jumping through a hula hoop, balancing on a ball, and walking on a tightrope. Both characters find out that the best new trick one can learn is making a new friend. The larger-than-life characters make up for the simplistic plot: Old Dog and Interrupting Cow make an oddball pair that children will find appealing. Vivid colors and comic style illustrations will engage young readers, while simple backgrounds and bold outlines draw kids’ full attention to the characters.
VERDICT Beginning readers will find this picture book straightforward, with familiar humor and an approachable friendship story.

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