Winner of a Gold Mom’s Choice Award Honoring Excellence!
When last we saw Poodle the chicken and his best friends What? and Sidney (a beagle and a snail, respectively), they had just mastered the eight parts of speech (Level One of MCT’s four-level grammar instruction), and they were heading across a vast blue plain toward the world of words. Now the horizon shows a mountain range with a bright star above it, holding the promise of new knowledge: the five parts of the sentence (Level Two). But getting to the top of the mountain is a treacherous endeavor because a frightening monster keeps buffeting them with wind and hurling snow at them and doing what he can to stop their progress.
What? No, not you, What?. (He thought I was talking to him.) I mean, What happened?
Wait, that’s a mouse shouting those directions, and the three friends are on a stage!? Where’s the mountain? Where’s the monster? Is that a wind machine? What’s going on?
Maybe mouse is directing a play, and she’s doing a masterful job of it, but the actors are confused. Has the entire journey been make-believe? Dickinson (the monster, apparently) sits at the top of the mountain (which isn’t much like a mountain at all now), waiting for them to arrive, but there’s too much to learn along the way, so Maybe offers some important acting instructions and then exits stage left. Suddenly the white wall behind them is a mountain again, and the world reappears, and the parts of the sentence await discovery—first the subject, then the action verb, then the direct object, the linking verb, and the subject complement. The friends encounter Gramlet, a pika, who helps them in their quest for knowledge but who warns them about the fury of Dickinson, the monster they are destined to meet at the top.
But what happens when Poodle and What? and Sidney arrive at the summit is unexpected, and when the lights come up, not only do the friends understand the parts of the sentence and how they work and when to use them, but they’ve learned a little about themselves and a lot about the characters around them, who are as multi-dimensional as the story itself.
This fun adventure tale, told in unmetered rhyme, is pure creative genius, celebrating both the power of words and the power of friendship and camaraderie and a willingness to extend those qualities to others. Michael is brilliant at word play, and artist Christopher Tice has brought the story to life with dazzling creativity. And if you think that that’s enough to make a book good (it is, but we didn’t stop there), just wait until you hear the audio of Michael reading the story himself—a feat made possible by the QR code on each spread of two pages. Children will treasure Poodle and the Blue Mountain Monster as a luminous sequel to Poodle Knows What?, all the while learning grammar in the most delightful way.