Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Fergus and Zeke by Kate Messner illustrated by Heather Ross

My hunt for terrific stories aimed at newly independent readers continues and this week I found another perfect one. Fergus and Zeke is from the Sparks series (Candlewick) and all of their titles are wonderful. I was excited to discover our own Bob Graham even has a book in this series - Tales from the Waterhole.  Look at my reviews of Rabbit and Robot, Annie and Simon, Pigsticks and HaroldHoundsley and Catina and Joe and Sparky.

Fergus is like John (in John the Mouse who learned to read from 1969 illustrated by Noela Young) and Humphrey the hamster we meet in the terrific series by Betty Birney. Fergus is the class pet. He thoroughly enjoys joining in with the class.

"When Miss Maxwell said, 'Sit quietly for storytime,' Fergus sat still and listened. ... When the students solved math problems, Fergus solved them too. He always kept his eyes on his own work."

When Fergus hears to class are off to the museum where they will see dinosaurs, the butterfly garden and shooting stars in the planetarium, Fergus absolutely expects to go along too. Sadly the teacher does not know this and it seems Fergus will be left behind. This is too much for Fergus so he slips out of his cage and into Emma's backpack. His adventure has begun and what a splendid adventure it will be. Who is Zeke I hear you ask. Fergus meets another mouse living in the museum and their combined antics serve to spice up the fun.

Here is the Kirkus review. Kate Messner has such a huge variety of books from wonderful non fiction to longer chapter books and even professional reading for teachers. She talks here about the inspiration for this story.  The sequel will be published later this year.

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