Leroy Ninker Saddles Up

leroyninkerWritten by Kate DiCamillo, Illustrated by Chris Van Dusen

Move over Mercy Watson. Your neighbor on Deckawoo Drive, Leroy Ninker, has a book all his own. Leroy, who works at the local drive-in theater, is a reformed thief who dreams of becoming a cowboy. He has the hat, the lasso and the boots. All he lacks is the horse. When fellow worker, Beatrice, the ticket seller at the Bijou, shows Leroy an ad in the local paper, he is off to Patty LaMarque’s home to see the horse she is selling. Patty doesn’t want money, just someone who will love and take care of Maybelline, her horse. Will his dream come true in Maybelline? Will Leroy remember the three items about Maybelline that Patty tells him?

I really love Kate DiCamillo. She has such a gift for writing and speaking to your heart. And having Chris Van Dusen (Mercy Watson series, If I Built a Car, The Circus Ship) illustrate just creates a winning combination. DiCamillo doesn’t talk down to children and uses some vocabulary words such as procure, instinctual, and cogitate, that could give them a reason to use the dictionary and increase their vocabulary. These words are just perfect for the character who speaks them. I like the advice she gives too: “You got to listen in this world, Hank,” character Patty calls Leroy ‘Hank’ even though he corrects her, “you got to pay attention to the informational bits that people share with you.” And, “Take fate in your hands.” This is a funny and touching easy chapter book, one “Yippie-i-Oh” story that children are sure to love.

Review by Renee Larsen, Hillside Elementary Media Center
Rating: ★★★★★ (5 stars)
Interest Level: Grades K-3

Author Website: http://www.katedicamillo.com/
Illustrator Website: http://www.chrisvandusen.com/

Leroy Ninker Saddles Up
Written by Kate DiCamillo, Illustrated by Chris Van Dusen
Candlewick Press
96 pages
Release Date: August 26, 2014
ISBN: 9780763663391 (hardcover)

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