By David Milgrim
See Pip Point is a pre-level 1 reader in the Ready-to-Read series and is a fantastic introduction for those just learning to read. It’s a fresh take on a familiar format, and a favorite of mine in this genre.
Primers, elementary textbooks used for teaching children to read, have long been used as teaching tools. The Dick and Jane series was introduced to American children in the 1930s. The books used the whole word (also called sight word) reading method and repetition for teaching children. The illustrations in the books were direct interpretations of the action in the text.
In 1954, an article by John Hersey in Life magazine drew attention to a national literacy problem. Hersey argued that school primers “should have pictures that widen rather than narrow the associative richness the children give to the words they illustrate.” In 1957, Dr. Seuss wrote The Cat in the Hat in reaction to that article. Using 236 distinct words and a highly imaginative illustration style, Dr. Seuss created a beloved character and gave children a new tool for learning to read. The “Beginner Books” series was born, and along with it came a whole new world of books for those learning to read.
David Milgrim’s series features a totally adorable robot and is a wonderful blend of these two worlds: that which uses repetitive text and that which uses rich illustration to expand upon the simple story.
Using crayon-thick black lines and a pleasing palette, Milgrim creates comical scenes that broaden a simple story into a raucous adventure. The simple text uses mostly single syllable words that belie the fun that’s being had but are perfect for those just learning to read.
In See Pip Point, Pip, a mouse, wants his friend Otto’s balloon. Pip points and points at Otto’s balloon. Otto happily shares his balloon, which quickly lifts the tiny Pip into the air, up and away.
A bee flying by in his sleep pops the balloon and Pip falls down and down.
Otto rescues his friend in an airplane but the plane crashes into some trees.
Pip and Otto land in a pond with some hippos. And one of them has Pip’s balloon!
These further adventures of Otto are also pre-level 1 readers in the Ready-to-Read series and are all highly enjoyable. See Otto travel through space in a space ship that may just be even cuter than he is. Help Otto find a good napping spot for a tired Santa. Meet some of Otto’s friends; Flip and Flop are two monkeys who like to paint, and Peanut is a very helpful elephant.