This week, we've been enjoying a new a children's chapter book series called Alby and the Cat by Leanne Davidson. There are two books in the series, and we read both of them this week. The first, Alby and the Cat, is an introduction to the two characters, Alby, a golden retriever, and the cat who lives next door to him. When the cat sees all sorts of commotion at the house next door, he figures something big is happening. But soon he discovers it's just a dog moving in. Unbeknownest to him, Alby is actually a pretty special dog: he's a new guide dog for Jim, the man who lives there.
At first, the two aren't very interested in becoming friends. After all, one is a dog and the other is a cat! But soon Alby is worrying about the cat. And then the cat reappears to save Alby from a rotten little boy. And in the end, the two realize they may actually be friends...at least until the next book in the series. What I loved about Alby and the Cat is the way it introduces kids to the work of guide dogs. It also teaches lessons about friendship and helping one another in a story and language that kids will love.
The second book in the series, Alby and the Cat: Showbusiness, continues the story of the characters. This time, we get to see a lot more of Jim, so we get a fantastic view of what it's like to be blind. This opened up a lot of questions with M and C. And when the cat goes missing, and Alby starts worrying about him, we see the friendship continuing. This time, Alby gets to come to the cat's rescue after a bit of adventure at the Morvale Show.
I highly recommend this series for older preschool through elementary age kids. Both of my kids enjoyed the stories, but they are long (80 pages) chapter books, so younger preschoolers may not sit for them. There are simple illustrations throughout, which give a little more life to the characters for the kids who like to see pictures. I would guess that these books are around a third grade reading level. This is just based on C's reading abilities. I think he would be able to read these, but he'd need a lot of help.
This review was written based on copies of Alby and the Cat and Alby and the Cat: Showbusiness that I received from the author in exchange for an honest review. For more information, check out the writer's blog and website.
What have you been reading with your children this week? Hop on over to Mouse Grows Mouse Learns to share!
GIVEAWAY: If you're interested in winning signed copies of these books, visit my other blog, Just Playin' Around, where I'll be offering a giveaway!