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Zak and Zee - Jeanne Willis
As many of you may know from reading some of my recent reviews - my youngster has recently taken off with learning to read, and therefore we have recently bought and have been given many young reader books, a number of them from the Oxford Reading Tree which is a set of many different books which are used in a lot of primary schools across the UK.
Recently I have also been shown an online website where you can find many of these books and other in ebook form absolutely free. The website for this is as follows;
This is a fantastic site and all the ebooks on here are absolutely free. I wish I had come across this before buying so many books! Though my little one does love her books so I guess that is the main thing!
Thank you to broxi3781 for pointing me in the direction of this site.
Back to this particular book.
As mentioned, this book comes under the Oxford Reading Tree books, though it also falls into the subcategory of the Project X books. It is of the blue book band which I believe is aimed for the ages of 5-6.
As with all the books in the Oxford Reading category, this book mixes easier phonic words with harder words which helps the child gain confidence by knowing some words, though also helps them learn others without feeling overwhelmed.
Zak and Zee are two little bugs. Zee is a smaller bug with bad eyesight and tries to talk to Zak, though he will not answer him.
The whole story is written in rhyme and is very catchy. An excerpt includes;
"Zee Bug's eyes were very small
He did not see well at all"
Both myself and my youngster enjoyed this book. We both found it quite funny, especially when you find out why Zak is not answering Zee, and the rhyming really helped my youngster concentrate. We have a number of the Project X books and I have had differing views on them. Previously, I have personally preferred the usual Oxford Reading books over the Project X ones, though this one has restored my like of these books.
The book is 16 pages long which is a great size for this age.
Other books in this series include;
What do Bugs Eat?
Ant's Bug Adventure
A fantastic early reading book, recommended by both me and my youngster!
Zak and Zee is part of a set of books I bought for my oldest son (age 5 at the time) to help him learn to read. This book is book band blue, level 4, of Oxford Reading Tree's Project X, a series designed to encourage boys to read. As a reading primer, I found this book perfect. It has a decent story, large text and easy to read words. The books are carefully graded so it easy to find ones to match your child's ability, and progress very slowly. The levels on the books match those of Oxford Reading Tree's Read at Home series, so if your child can read level four in those books, this is perfect. Of course reading some books a bit below a child's current level can still be fun and create confidence, and books that are too hard can be read by parents until the child reaches that level.
In all honesty, I thought the computer illustrated books were far better then the traditionally illustrated ones in this series. However, my sons have proved me wrong and enjoy all of the books, but this is a particular favourite, especially with my youngest ( age2). He asked for this book constantly saying " I want to read Buggy's butt book!" The illustrations for this book are definitely the nicest for traditionally illustrated ones in this series. Each page has a bright and cheerful picture of two bugs on a tree. They are simple, but nice and show plenty of expression.
The story is about two bugs Zak has very big eyes, while Zee has small eyes and poor vision. When Zee meets Zak he attempts to strike up a conversation, but rather than addressing Zak face to face, he ends up talking to Zak's butt. Of course the book only says back, but it is obvious, especially as Zee ends up with his nose pressed up against Zak's tail shouting, that butt would be more appropriate. Of course my youngest finds this absolutely hilarious, shouting out "He's talking to Buggy's Butt". While my oldest son is much more restrained, he does end up laughing at this as well. And the end of the story Zee finally gets Zak's attention, and the two become friends.
While I can't quite get the fascination with the bug's behind, this obviously has great humour to children, at least my children. The text does have a sort of rhythms to it and does rhyme. Each page has two short sentences. Although it is hard to recommend books by age as each child learns to read at a different pace, I would give a rough age guide on this as 5 -6, for a child to read alone. As a story book I would say this is best from about age 2, but may be enjoyed a bit before that, up until such an age as they outgrow toilet humour.
This book can be purchased as part of a set which combines two books into one for a total of 32 stories in 16 books for approximately £20. To buy this separately will cost £3.50 from Amazon and slightly less from Amazon Marketplace. I do find this expensive considering it is only 16 pages, but judging by how many times it has been read in our house, it would have been well worth £3.50. It gets my full recommendation, both as a story book and a tool for helping a child learn to read.