Summer vacation sends LaRue Across America

June 13, 2011 at 7:17 pm 1 comment

LaRue Across America: Postcards from the Vacation written and illustrated by Mark Teague; published by The Blue Sky Press, an imprint of Scholastic Inc., New York; 2011.

Mrs. LaRue’s dog Ike continues his prolific letter writing in a series of postcards, sent from the road, to Mrs. Hibbins.  Seems he’s not too happy forsaking a cruise in order to take the neighbor’s cats on a cross-country road trip.  Poor Ike or poor cats?  Could this chapter in Ikes life end happily?

Teague continues to capitalize on his Ike character.  The twisted tales from the dog’s viewpoint encourage the reader to engage listeners in a little bit of investigative work.  What’s the truth?  Why does LaRue’s dog twist the facts to his benefit?  The illustrations work hand-in-glove with the story.  Teague includes black-and-white images that show us what Ike has suffered at the hands of the cats (or does he have a vivid imagination?).  Juxtaposed with the color images of “reality,” these thought bubbles create talking points that help carry the story forward.  And putting a map of the United States, fictional destinations included, on the end pages is a great way to lead a discussion about geography.  It’s a great tool to use to follow Ike’s progress on his trip.  Don’t forget to point out the cruise ship!

With many libraries using the “One World, Many Stories” summer reading theme (or a variation of the same), this book is a no-brainer to add to summer story time.  A great activity would be to ask children to send postcards to the library from their vacations then mark them on a map in the library throughout the summer.  Or have the children create postcards highlighting some of the destinations Ike visited–create their own images on one side and messages on the other.  Even simply including this book in a summer vacation display or book bag to check out and take on vacation would be highly recommended by this librarian! 🙂

Happy summer reading!


Entry filed under: Picture Book. Tags: , , , , , .

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. ronda eden  |  June 13, 2011 at 9:38 pm

    Oh this sounds wonderful and a clever educational tool to encourage children to use all the language arts while on vacation as well as at school. Lovely!
    Ronda Eden, illustrator, The Brothers Foot.


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