Muddy Paws by Moira Butterfield


Muddy Paws by Moira ButterfieldRChildreneview by Molly

Moira Butterfield’s Muddy Paws has often been an Osage County First Grade choice for DEAR and free time reading.

It is a special day for Ben and his new puppy. Ben has plans to teach his puppy all the things that a puppy needs to know.

First though, the puppy needs a name. Maybe the name will be cuddles because Ben gets lots of cuddles from his new puppy.

Ben and his puppy look in a storybook for name suggestions; soon the puppy gets tired of the book and begins to explore, Ben’s bedroom. Oops, he didn’t mean to knock the flowerpot over, but that is just what he did. And, he made muddy little footprints all over the place.

Away the pair go to the park, where the puppy jumps in the mud and makes muddy footprints all over the place.

The story continues as the puppy falls into the neighbor’s goldfish pond, digs in the back yard, and of course makes muddy footprints all over the place.

Illustrations by Simon Mendez are perfect for the text produced by Moira Butterfield. When I noticed the cover of a large, 11.3 x 9.8 x 0.6 inch work featuring a cover by Simon Mendez sitting on the shelf in the work room at school my interest was piqued immediately. A bright eyed puppy stares at the reader, his buddy little paws are evident. This is going to be one fun book.

And, it is. I like the format featuring double page spreads with well crafted graphics, muted colors showing the puppy and his Little Boy as they spend their day trying to decide the perfect name.

Anyone who has had contact with a puppy, a little boy or a combination thereof can identify immediately with this tale. Vocabulary used for producing the story is a little more advanced than beginning Emergent Readers. It is within the grasp of most Primary readers.

Osage County First Grade often chooses Muddy Paws for our on the rug teacher read to class time, for DEAR and for free time reading.

I too like Muddy Paws, the work is a gentle, quiet down read for after lunch recess as Osage County First Grade settles to begin afternoon work, it provides opportunity for good class discussion as Little Learners talk about the puppy, their own pets, the dilemma for trying to decide upon a name, how they themselves may have faced a similar situation, and the result.

As the school year has progressed Emergent Readers are now reading the book with little or no help, and Muddy Paws has now been read by more than one Little Reader as their selection for star punches in order to receive our State Education Superintendent’s Reading Certificate.

Trying to find books to interest both little boys and little girls is not always easy. Because little girls often begin to read more fluently at a faster rate than do little boys, boys in the classroom often begin to feel less sure of themselves as they continue to struggle with those mysterious marks the teacher insists form hunks and chunks and even whole words. Books featuring girls and –girl stuff- may be pretty to view, however, for little boys they go all but ignored in the classroom. This book featuring a dog and a boy, even if he is a little younger than the boys in the classroom is a popular choice for boys and girls in Osage County First Grade.

Happy to recommend Muddy Paws for the target audience of Emergent Readers, for the home, classroom and school library shelf as well as for the public library collection.

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