Meg and Greg: The Bake Sale
Meg and Greg: The Bake Sale
(Buddy reader’s text) Meg threw another stick. Smoke got to it first. Instead of turning back, Pip swam into deeper water. “Stay close,” Meg called to Pip.”
(Kid’s text/ illustration boxes)
Pip got up on a rock. “Swim back, Pip! (Meg speaking.) Yip.
“Smoke, fetch Pip!” (Meg speaking.) Smoke swam to the rock, but Pip did not budge.
“Greg, Pip is stuck on a rock!” (Meg speaking.) “Drat!” (Greg speaking.)
“Do you still have that piece of rope?” (Meg speaking.) (from the story “Limestone Quarry” featuring o-e)
Meg and Greg: The Bake Sale is the third book in the “Orca Two Read” series designed for shared reading between a child and an adult reader. Meg, 10, and her best friend, Greg, along with his dog Rocket, find themselves in a variety of adventures during their summer holidays. In the story “The Bake Sale”, Meg decides to have a cupcake and lemonade sale to raise money to buy a gift for her mom’s birthday. However, a series of disasters, as well as a sudden rain shower, nearly ruin the plan. Fortunately, the friends have some clever ideas to make the sale a success. In the next story, “The Bike Ride”, Greg’s mom needs help to deliver costumes to her ballet students for their year-end show. With nine large boxes, addresses spread throughout the neighbourhood and a deadline, the friends are faced with several challenges that include getting stuck in the sand at low tide. Meg and Greg find themselves taking three dogs for a walk in the story “Limestone Cove”. Along with Rocket, Greg is dog walking his neighbour’s two pets before they go to the dog groomer. Losing them down a steep slope to the cove and rescuing one that swims out too far makes for an exciting adventure. The final story, “June and the Kittens”, begins with the two friends setting out to water the garden of one of Meg’s mom’s friends. As they look around the large garden, they hear Rocket’s bark. He has found something under the rotten deck at the back. They discover a lost cat and her kittens hiding beneath the deck. The children’s trying to get them out safely and then locating the cat’s owner adds another adventure to their summer.
This four story chapter book, Meg and Greg: The Bake Sale, is designed to assist developing readers as well as struggling or dyslexic readers. Co-authors Elspeth Rae and Rowena Rae incorporate a number of reading features in this learning experience. The black and white labeled comic-style illustrations by Elisa Gutiérrez are engaging and add humour to the story. The simple details help the child use visual cues to make meaning of the text. 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 length of each story is manageable and has a good flow and pace. The partnering of the adult/buddy’s reader’s page and the kid’s page works beautifully.
The setup of the books in “Orca Two Read” series differs slightly in appearance from that of a regular story book. The reason for this is that the stories are designed to be shared between an adult or competent reader and the child. The left hand pages, or the adult/buddy pages, contain some illustrations and text that includes longer sentences, a wider vocabulary and some letter combinations that might be unfamiliar to the child. In Meg and Greg: The Bake Sale, the focus is on introducing words with the ‘magic’ silent e at the end: a-e, e-e, i-e, o-e, and u-e. Words in bold type highlight this phonetic feature. The right hand pages are the kid pages and resemble a graphic novel format. On these pages, 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.
Shared reading is a special experience for the readers. For the emerging and /or struggling reader, it broadens the concept of reading. The child watches and listens to the buddy pages and sees modelling strategies. On the kid page, the application of consonant blends, vowel sounds and phonograms from the previous series is repeated for further practice. For the adult, it lends itself to discussion with the child and makes reading fun. The humour, the graphics and the text features, combined with the chapter book format, will appeal to children in grades 2 to 4. Children who aren't having specific reading difficulties can also enjoy the adventures of these two friends and would find differences in the double page spread format engaging.
Janice Foster is a retired teacher and teacher librarian in Winnipeg, Manitoba.