I've mentioned the Mercy Watson series before, most recently in the Summer Reading for Kids Going Into Second (2nd) and Third (3rd) Grade.
It is a fabulous series for beginning readers (mostly 1st and 2nd grade, but it could easily go up to 3rd grade), and I just realized I never did an official book review on it.
The writing in this early reader/beginning chapter book is wonderful, but let us be honest, everything Kate DiCamillo writes is wonderful. The illustrations fit magnificently with the text and style, and the layout is perfect. It is all around a must read for your beginning readers aka kiddos that are just starting to read and wanting to get into chapter books.
I give Mercy Watson to the Rescue by Kate DiCamillo 5 out of 5 stars. This first book in the Mercy Watson series is about a pig that everyone, boys and girls, can come to like, love, and even relate to.
DiCamillo does a great job with character development and actually writing a wonderful story for those early readers. However, the book would not have earned all 5 stars were it not for the illustrations by Chris Van Dusen. In a picture book and early readers/beginning chapter books like this one you really need to have great writing and a solid story line as well as amazing pictures.
Check out this sample page from the book:
The layout on early readers/beginning chapter books is critical. Notice the font is large and spacing is well done, but it still looks like a chapter book. Notice the pictures are prominent, colorful, and gorgeous which is crucial for this age group. The layout of early readers/beginning chapter books is just as important as the writing/story and the illustrations/pictures.
I'm so glad Mercy Watson to the Rescue, as well as the remaining 5 books in the series really have all three, writing, illustrations, and layout, to make for a fabulous early reader/beginning chapter book.
If you have a first (1st) or second (2nd) grader then you should most definitely get this book for them to read by themselves and with you. I promise you will enjoy the story almost as much as they do. I know I sure loved the book.
This first book, Mercy Watson to the Resuce, is great for boys and girls. Most of the series is fabulous for both. However, there is one book in the series (Mercy Watson and the Princess in Disguise) that most boys I know avoid. I think it is just b/c princess is in the title, but without fail I could never get my first or second grade boys to read it.
If you have an advanced Kindergartner or preschooler you could also make this book a great book to read aloud to them.
Here is a book review from Amazon:
"Oh, Mercy, what a pig! Mercy is a fat little porker, a beloved member of the Watson family. When Mr and Mrs. Watson sing her a happy morning song, she feels as warm inside as buttered toast. But when the lights go off, Mercy is so scared she gets in bed with the Watsons. The bed breaks under the weight, which leads to a series of hysterical events. The Watsons think Mercy is on the way to call the fire department, when, in fact, she wants to see if next-door neighbor Baby Lincoln has any buttered toast. After another misunderstanding and a merry chase, the firemen arrive--just in time to rescue the Watsons, who are about to fall through the floor. Mercy is a heroine (to the Watsons, at least), resulting in more songs and towers of toast. Appropriate as both a picture book and a beginning reader, this joyful story combines familiar elements (the unexpected heroine, the mean neighbor) with a raucous telling that lets readers in on the joke. Van Dusen's artwork is also spot-on. The gouache illustrations are polished to a sheen and have plenty of heft. The characters are exaggerated with a vintage cartoon flair; Mercy, for instance, looks like a piggy bank that has sprung to life. Another jolly adventure about Mercy is in the works. —Ilene Cooper, Booklist"
Just in case you are still not sold on the awesomeness of this book and series, here you can read and enjoy a sample from the book.
Happy, Mercy Watson aka the lovable and fun pig, Reading!