By Mary Tillworth
Cover Illustrated by Sue DiCicco and Steve Talkowski
Interior illustrated by MJ Illustrations
Based on the screenplay
“Build Me a Building!” by Adam Peltzman
Based on the TV Series Bubble Guppies,
created by Robert Scull and Johnny Belt
The Bubble Guppies build a home for Bubble Puppy
STEP INTO READING
STEP 1: Ready to Ready to Read Preschool-Kindergarten
Does Your Child Know the alphabet? Is you child eager to begin reading? Step 1 is the perfect first step!
This is as much a story as it is a review. So the basics, before I take you down a rabbit hole, are these. This book is great. For toddlers. In fact, for most of this year, this was our toddler’s favorite book.
As you can see, there’s a lot of industry wrapped up in these twenty four pages. So much, in fact, that it prompts a vague feeling of unease. It’s part of a Random House marketing program. It’s a licensed adaptation of a Nickelodeon cartoon. It doesn’t just feature characters, it retells part of a particular episode.
I talk a lot about Frozen, which is a family favorite. So one might be forgiven for assuming that Bubble Guppies is another. That would explain everything. Except it’s not. We learned about the existence of the surreal submarine show watching Play-Doh surprise eggs videos during a bout of illness. I figured we should check out the show. Our toddler hated it.
Like, never speak of it again hated it. Wanna watch sumpin’ else hated it. This one’s weird hated it.
I also picked up a couple books from the library. And that’s where The Best Doghouse Ever! comes in. We tend to put the books down on the table and let interest guide our reading. Given the response to the show, I figured the Bubble Guppies books would be ignored.
Not so. We read it over and over and… well, only a toddler could handle the repetition. We learned the names, the setting, the relationships. We checked out all the books available at the library.
The text is large and the sentences are simple. But for all that it’s reasonably dense. Cramming charity, communication, and cooperation into less than a dozen words looks easy.
Ignore the inanity of building a wooden doghouse on the ocean floor. The setting’s weird. But only as weird as, say, anthropomorphized animals or something.
The narrative moves along at a decent clip. The illustrations are colorful and precise. The environments are organized and uncluttered. Every page offers the opportunity for additional engagement identifying characters and objects.
The Bubble Guppies are delightfully multiracial and relentlessly upbeat. It’s nice to have a reading reprieve after scary predators and sad, struggling trains. This was true for our toddler as much as it was for me. These books have been go-to bedtime reading for weeks.
But this particular book will always be special because it’s the first book our toddler read to me.
I’m more or less sold on the Step Into Reading concept, at least at this first stage. These are designed for ages 4-6 and intended to help kids learn to read. But this one was fun, interesting, and memorable.
I had to excuse myself for a moment and when I returned, our toddler had the Kindle ready. My first bedtime story was executed perfectly page by page. It wasn’t reading, but it was how reading starts.
The Best Doghouse Ever! is available is paperback, library-bound hardback, and it’s part of Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited subscription service.