When I saw reviews of GRIN AND BEAR IT by Leo Landry on GoodReads, I was expecting a picture book. So, when it arrived, I was excited to see that it was an early chapter book instead. It is a short chapter book--48 pages and 7 chapters. Each page has a colorful illustration and most of the illustrations provide good picture support for the text. Most pages have about 1/2 page or less of text.
Bear is the main character in the book and he is a comedian. He writes great jokes. But he is a little shy. He so wants to tell jokes and make his friends laugh, and the jokes are pretty amusing. Bear practices and practices but when he finally has the chance to be on stage with his friends in the audience, he gets stage fright. He is very upset and runs off but things turn out in the end in a happy and surprising way.
I can see 7 and 8 year-olds LOVING this book. Bear writes and practices new jokes throughout the book, so those jokes that crack 7 and 8 year-olds up, are woven throughout the story. Bear's jokes seem to have nailed that second grade humor so well!
This seems to be a great fit for students moving beyond Henry and Mudge--there are lots more words per page, the phrasing support is not there in the way the text is set up on the page and the storyline and vocabulary are more complex. I see this as a book for kids who are ready to get started on chapter books that take more than one day to read, but who do not yet have the stamina to stick with longer series books. This one is appropriate for younger readers who are ready for chapter books. It would also make a fun read aloud!