Thursday, December 4, 2014

Kid Sheriff and the Terrible Toads

Title: Kid Sheriff and the Terrible Toads 
Author: Bob Shea  
Illustrator: Lane Smith 
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press 
Publication Date: October 7th, 2014 
Genre/Format: Fiction/Picture Book 
GoodReads Summary: Drywater Gulch has a toad problem. Not the hop-down-your-britches, croaking-all-night toad kind of problem. The thievin', hootin' and hollerin', steal-your-gold never-say-thank-you outlaw toad kind of problem.
 Then hope rides into town. Sheriff Ryan might only be seven years old, and he might not know much about shooting and roping. But he knows a lot about dinosaurs. Yes, dinosaurs. And it turns out that knowing a thing or two about paleontology can come in handy when it comes to hoodwinking and rounding up a few no-good bandits. From Bob Shea and Lane Smith comes this hilarious picture book, Kid Sheriff and the Terrible Toads.   
What I Think: What a cunning book! We've read this so many times and talked over and over again about just what Sheriff Ryan does in this town! It's pretty great what Bob and Lane have done here. I have no idea how they came up with this book but it's brilliant.
There seem to be more and more picture books that really push for close reading and I love that about children's literature today. I'm so glad my kids get to grow up reading books like Kid Sheriff and the Terrible Toads. This book is just another example of how picture books aren't only meant for elementary-age students. This would be a great book to read with older kids because the story is not quite what is seems after the first reading.

One element of the story that I think takes it to a higher level apart from the plot is the language. It's dripping with descriptive words and oozes dialect that is sometimes a bit hard to decipher, or at least might be more accessible for older kids. All of these rolled up into this book make for a great discussion of words and dialogue and how they impact a story. There's definitely a trick to getting dialogue just right and making sure that it truly adds to the character without taking away or distracting from the plot. Reading this book with attention to word choice and then looking at others as well might be a great activity for looking at how dialect and dialogue impact our writing.
Read Together: Grades 3 - 12 
Read Alone: Grades 4 - 12 
Read With: One Cool Friend by Toni Buzzeo, Sam and Dave Dig a Hole by Mac Barnett, Robot Zot by Jon Scieszka 
Snatch of Text:  
"Why, those Toad brothers
would steal your gold, kiss
your cattle, and insult your
chili. Hootin', hollarin', and 
cussin' all the while.

Mayor McMuffin was
beside his self. His cumin-
scented town was a goner."  
Writing Prompts: Write about whether you think there really were dinosaurs coming to town or not. Support your answer with evidence from the text.
Topics Covered: Wit, Determination, Confidence 
I *heart* It:
*Thanks to Roaring Brook Press for 
a copy of this title in exchange for an honest review!*

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