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.
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, NYCopyright 2012 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.