Cynthia Rylant’s Early Reader Series

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Cynthia Rylant is one talented writer! Her early readers have kept my son (almost 5) busy for months.

The Henry and Mudge stories feature a young boy and his best friend, his dog. I think these were my son’s favorites, and since there are probably about 30 (or more?) different books of Henry’s adventures, it’s been a delightful necessity to always have a few of them on our “currently reading” shelf. My son will never have a dog (my husband and I are not dog people). We have a particular friend with a dog, however, and my son loves the dog and has adopted her as his “own.”My son seems to relate to Henry’s adventures.

Ms. Rylant also writes an impressive collection of stories about Mr. Putter and Tabby, a man and his cat. My son likes Mr. Putter’s adventures; I’ll admit I have not read as many of these myself. My favorites are the wry stories of Mr. Poppleton (yes, also by Ms Rylant). Mr. Poppleton is an anthropomorphic pig, and his stories deal with his compulsive habits and his relationships with his neighbor, Cherry Sue the llama, and others in the community.

It’s amazing to me how Ms. Rylant has succeeded in making an older man’s experiences (as well as an adult pig’s experiences) so clear that they seem perfectly relevant to a child as well. I suppose this is due to the universality of the human need for friendship, our common personal habits and needs for personal space, the desire to serve and relate to other people, and the commonality of obstacles blocking accomplishment. Anyone can relate, regardless of one’s age.

Reviewed on August 31, 2012

About the author 

Rebecca Reid

Rebecca Reid is a homeschooling, stay-at-home mother seeking to make the journey of life-long learning fun by reading lots of good books. Rebecca Reads provides reviews of children's literature she has enjoyed with her children; nonfiction that enhances understanding of educational philosophies, history and more; and classical literature that Rebecca enjoys reading.

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