Meg and Greg: Frank and the Skunk
Meg and Greg: Frank and the Skunk
(Buddy reader’s text)
Emma rubbed her stomach. “I’m hungry after all that paddling!”
“Me, too,” Greg said. “Let’s get dinner started as soon as we finish pitching the tents.”
Meg glanced down the trail. “What is taking Jasmin so long?”
(Kid’s text) Meg! Did you pack the tents in the Red Rocket? (Illustration box with Jasmin speaking.)
Greg? Did you pack them in the Hot Hopscotch? (Illustration box with Meg speaking.)
Emma? Did you? (Illustration box with Greg speaking.)
We must have left them with the Dutch Dash. DRAT! (Illustration box with Emma speaking.) (From the story “The Catch That Went Bad” featuring tch.)
Meg and Greg: Frank and the Skunk is the second book in the “Orca Two Read” series designed for shared reading between a child either learning to read or struggling to read and an adult or confident reader. Meg, 10, and her best friend Greg are excited to be at Camp Nut-Hatch for two weeks. Along with the regular camp activities, Meg and Greg experience four unusual adventures, each narrated as separate five chapter stories. The four phonograms in this book are:nk, ng, tch and dge.
The first adventure, “Frank and the Skunk”, begins when Meg’s and Greg’s cabin mates, Jasmin and Emma, want to play a prank on their camp leader, Hank, but, when they accidentally let Hank’s dog, Frank, escape, the fun begins. How can they get the odor off Frank after his run-in with a skunk and get him back to his cabin before lunch? In the next story, “The King’s Long Fangs”, Meg and Greg need to create a skit using as many words as they can that end in ng. After brainstorming, using lots of ng words and finding props and costumes, they perform their silly, winning skit. In “The Catch That Went Bad”, a three-day canoe trip provides the four cabin mates, the trip leader and another camper with a series of problems. Food poisoning, a hole in a canoe, and misplaced tents add to the excitement. Fudge muffins are an important part of “Fudge!”, the last story. On the evening before the last day, the four friends decide to surprise the camp cook, famous for her fudge muffins, by making her a badge and decorating the lodge kitchen. Knocking the cook’s celebration cake onto the floor, trying to make a new one and making a mess in the process, all make a fun final adventure.
Coauthors Elspeth Rae and Rowena Rae incorporate a number of reading features to assist struggling or dyslexic readers. The black and white labeled comic-style illustrations by Elisa Gutiérrez are engaging and add humour to the story. The clear, well-spaced font and the shaded paper on the right hand side pages make the reading more accessible to a dyslexic reader. The four stories are well-paced, and the chapter format makes each of the stories, which range from 26 to 28 pages in length, manageable. The partnering of the adult/buddy’s reader’s page and the kid’s page works beautifully. The more complex text on the left side page is accompanied by an illustration and avoids very difficult words which, in turn, invites the striving reader to watch the modeling of reading a full page of text while being engaged with the story. On the right hand side, the page looks more like a graphic novel format. On this, the kid’s page, the text is at a lower reading level with a phonogram focus, and the picture to text relationship adds detail and assistance to the struggling reader. The section, “About the Meg and Greg stories”, explains how the shared reading works. There are suggested activities that use the phonogram being highlighted at the end of each story.
The “Orca Two Reads” is a series with a difference. The content will appeal to struggling readers who are slightly older than the ‘beginner’ reader. The humour, the graphics and the text features, combined with the chapter book format, will appeal to children in grades 2 to 4. The partnering between struggling and experienced readers provides a richer reading and guided learning experience for the child. Children who aren't having difficulties reading will also enjoy the stories and would like the interesting format of the double page spread with a page of text and a page of graphic illustrations.
Janice Foster is a retired teacher and teacher-librarian in Winnipeg, Manitoba.