Rocket Writes a Story (Rocket)

by Tad Hills (Author) Tad Hills (Illustrator)

Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade
Series: Rocket
Rocket loves books and he wants to make his own, but he can't think of a story. Encouraged by the little yellow bird to look closely at the world around him for inspiration, Rocket sets out on a journey. Along the way Rocket discovers small details that he has never noticed before, a timid baby owl who becomes his friend, and an idea for a story. Declared a best children's book of the year by Amazon, Barnes & Noble, School Library Journal, and Publishers Weekly, this book is sure to appeal to kids, parents, teachers, and librarians.
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Kirkus Reviews

A perfect choice to inspire new readers and writers.

Publishers Weekly

In a natural follow-up to How Rocket Learned to Read (2010), the black-and-white puppy with a 1950s crew cut and an irrepressible desire to learn adds writing to his skills. Rocket literally sniffs out new words that he and his teacher, the yellow bird from the first book, display on notes on the branches of a word tree (a project tailor-made for teachers looking for their next bulletin board), and the dog struggles to find a topic, create characters, and find inspiration for his story. Hills is adept at showing Rocket's setbacks and successes ("When things were going well, he wagged his tail. When he didn't know what to write, he growled") while offering excellent tips for children following in the dog's footsteps. "Remember, stories take time," says the bird, who pushes Rocket to add details to his story and think about what his characters are like. Along the way, Hills gently demonstrates the power of stories to build bridges: a shy owl in a pine tree (the subject of Rocket's story) gradually befriends Rocket as the dog shares his story with her. Ages 4-8. (July)

Copyright 2012 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

School Library Journal

PreS-Gr 2--The endearing dog who first encountered the joy of words in How Rocket Learned to Read (Random, 2010) wonders what he can do with all the words he's been collecting. "I'm going to write a story!" he announces to his friends, his teacher-a small yellow bird-and the world at large. But a story, he finds, is made of more than just words. With useful questions, positive feedback, and encouragement, Rocket's teacher keeps him interested in the journey that turns his words into something special. And he finds, as many writers do, that his topic (an owl) becomes his friend. Hills varies his perspectives and page formats so successfully that the book's repetitive color scheme never gets tiresome. Children will love deciphering the illustrated words that cover Rocket's teaching tree. Listeners, readers, and aspiring writers will appreciate the excellent description of the many ways that stories unfold.--Susan Weitz, formerly at Spencer-Van Etten School District, Spencer, NY

Copyright 2012 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

School Library Journal Best of Children's Books 2012 

Kids' Indie Next List, Summer 2012
Tad Hills

Tad Hills is the author and illustrator of the highly acclaimed New York Times-bestselling picture books Duck & Goose; Duck, Duck, Goose; Duck & Goose Go to the Beach; How Rocket Learned to Read; and Rocket Writes a Story. He has created numerous Duck & Goose board books, among them the ALA-ALSC Notable Children's Book What's Up, Duck?; Duck & Goose, It's Time for Christmas!; Duck & Goose Colors!; and most recently, Duck & Goose, Let's Dance! The Rocket series includes a board book, Rocket's Mighty Words, and two leveled readers, Drop It, Rocket! and Rocket's 100th Day of School. Tad lives in Brooklyn with his wife, their two children, and a dog named Rocket. Visit the author online at

Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Schwartz & Wade Books
Publication date
July 24, 2012
BISAC categories
JUV002040 - Juvenile Fiction | Animals | Birds
JUV047000 - Juvenile Fiction | Books & Libraries
JUV002070 - Juvenile Fiction | Animals | Dogs
Library of Congress categories
Books and reading
JUVENILE FICTION / Family / General (see also
JUVENILE FICTION / Bedtime & Dreams
Alabama Camellia Award
Nominee 2013 - 2014
Young Hoosier Book Award
Nominee 2015 - 2015
Indie Next List
Kids' Summer 2012
School Library Journal
Best of Children's Books 2012

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