Sunday, April 18, 2004


Fleming, Denise. 2003. BUSTER. New York: Henry Holt. ISBN 0805062793 [Suggested Grade Levels: PreK-Grade 2].

Buster has a great life. His food dish is personalized, he has a big backyard that he can get to anytime he wants through the in-and-out door installed especially for him, and his owner, Brown Shoes, takes him walking in the park anytime he wants to go. It is a dog’s life! Life couldn’t be better for Buster! However, things change when Betty comes into his life unexpectedly. Betty, a fluffy white kitten who arrives one day in a big box, tries to make friends with Buster, but he is terrified of cats and wants nothing to do with her. Thinking that if he just ignores her, Betty will go away, Buster runs away from home when Betty continues to stay around. The lovely day Buster has on his own takes a frightening turn when he cannot remember how to get home, and then Betty comes to his rescue.

Fleming does an incredible job showcasing her trademark artwork, created from handmade paper, vibrantly colored. The personalities of the characters are captured through Fleming’s use of expressive facial features and lively body language. The way that this book is divided into six short titled sections creates the feel of a chapter book within a picture book, moving the action of the story along at a fast pace, along with the repetitive text, entices emergent readers to sit down and read this book on their own. The eagle-eye map that is included, highlighting Buster’s route from the park home is fun to follow and provides practice with map skills. This is a book that works well as a read-alone or a read-aloud.

Create an obstacle course to follow, similar to Buster’s journey home from the park.
Create a map showing the area around your neighborhood.
Write a sequel to the story. What is the next adventure for Buster and Betty?
Create a venn diagram of the similarities and differences between cats and dogs.
Learn about the responsibility of having a pet.

Other books about dogs and cats:
Boynton, Sandra. DOGGIES. ISBN 0671493183.
Price, Matthew. PATCH FINDS A FRIEND. Illustrated by Emma Clark. ISBN 0531302644.
Robertus, Polly M. THE DOG WHO HAD KITTENS. Illustrated by Janet Stevens. ISBN 0823409740.
Spires, Elizabeth. THE BIG MEOW. Illustrated by Cynthia Jabar. ISBN 0763606790.
Other books about maps:
Chesanow, Neil. WHERE DO I LIVE? Illustrated by Ann Iosa. ISBN 0812092414.
Leedy, Loreen. MAPPING PENNY’S WORLD. ISBN 0805061789.
Other books by Denise Fleming that could be compared to this one:

By Kirsten Murphy

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