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Books for Beginning Readers

Pearl and Wagner

By Kate McMullan

Illustrated by R.W. Alley

Dial Books, 2009-2014

Can a go-getter rabbit and a goof-off mouse be good friends? You bet!

Check out all five titles in this award-winning series. 

One Funny Day

What's the funniest day of the year?  April Fools Day!  Just one problem... Wagner doesn't think it's funny. 

Winner 2010 Theodore Seuss Geisel Honor given to distinguished American books for beginning readers. 

"McMullan's exquisitely crafted story has an endearing blend of humor, humiliation, friendship, and familiar school scenarios."  School Library Journals's starred review

Two Good Friends

Even when they don't win a prize at the science fair or when they argue over a pair of new green boots, Pearl and Wagner show that they know how to make up and stay good friends no matter what.

"McMullan moves the story forward with simple, authentic dialogue. 'I'm going to make a robot,' says Pearl while Wagner dreams, 'I am going to win a prize.'  Streamlined vocabulary and sentence structure accommodate the needs of newly independent readers without constricting the story.  . . . Budding readers will want to follow this duo's further adventures." Publishers Weekly

Three Secrets

Pearl and Wagner are back, and they are full of secrets!  Wagner tells Pearl an embarrassing secret.  Pearl tells Wagner a surprising secret.  Lulu tells Wagner a secret that turns out not to be a secret at all!

"Beginning readers will laugh and recognize a little of themselves on every page of this charming, warm and funny book about friendship."  Amazon

Four Eyes

There's an eye toast toady.  Er... that's eye test today at school.  But Wagner can't see the chart.  As his best friend Pearl says, "It's glasses time!


Winner 2009 Junior Library Guild Selection


"Perfectly capturing those fragile feelings of childhood, McMullan shows Wagner's hesitation to stand out from the crowd, his pride in being praised, and his delight when his friends defend him and best the bullies. Soft watercolor and pen-and-ink create a gentle mood and depict unfamiliar reading vocabulary, such as scarf and pepperoni. Topping off a fine friendship and a fine story is newly confident Wagner, boldly proclaiming, 'The name's Four Eyes.'  "   Betty Carter, Horn Book, Inc.

Five Days Till Summer

Pearl and Wagner are sad to leave their favorite teacher, Ms. Star.  And Pearl thinks next year's teacher looks MEAN!  But is Ms. Bean as bad as she seems?

"In the latest installment from the Geisel Honor-winning creators of Pearl and Wagner: One Funny Day (2009), the last days of school are filled with emotional tension about next year's teachers: will they be nice or "mean nice" or mean? Pearl, who shares the independent spirit of Kevin Henkes' Lilly, decides early, on slim evidence, that next year's teacher is mean. In contrast to Mo Willems' Elephant and Piggie books, where only two characters work through issues, here a whole classroom of voices are heard throughout the three easily accessible short chapters."  Booklist Reviews.

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