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Ling and Ting | Class #2 2015

lin_ling & ting twice as sillyThis is one of two early readers (a.k.a. easy readers) for our second class. At the end of class, we talked about the difference between picture books and easy readers. How well do you think this book works in the early reader genre? Clearly it’s for somewhat more fluent readers than the Elephant and Piggy books. Do the situations match the age of the average new reader? What if a somewhat older child is learning to read at this level? Easy readers may not look as flashy as picture books, but in some ways they are more challenging to create. The author and illustrator must perform a balancing act to make the book inviting yet not intimidating. Imagine trying to create specific and engaging characters using very few words and clean, simple illustrations.

Lolly Robinson About Lolly Robinson

Lolly Robinson is the creative director for The Horn Book, Inc. She has degrees in studio art and children's literature and teaches children's literature at Harvard University's Graduate School of Education. She has served on the Caldecott and Boston Globe-Horn Book Award committees and blogs for Calling Caldecott and Lolly's Classroom on this site.



  1. Sara Gordon says:

    I appreciate how this book is broken up into six “stories”, or chapters, which helps the young reader focus on each individual one instead of becoming overwhelmed if it is written as one long story. I love the bright colors throughout the book, and Ling and Ting’s matching outfits–right down to the mismatched shoes (each of the girls has one green shoe and one red). The end of each of the 6 stories is always something funny or clever that children, as readers, would find amusing. I also found it effective that the author, Grace Lin, very rarely uses pronouns, in order to avoid confusing the readers; for example: “Ting likes to paint. She likes to paint fast. When Ting paints, the paint splashes. It splashes on Ting.”

  2. Ying Xiang Lai says:

    Like Sara, I really like how clever every story is in this book and that the content was not “dumbed down”, even though care was taken to choose words an average new reader can read by himself/herself. I also like that last story addressed writing, which is the other aspect of literacy that the reader is probably starting on at this developmental stage and can relate to. Overall, I think the pictures were done well in the sense that they contributed to the flow of the stories, but not too complicated and full of details until they were a distraction. One thing that puzzled me was the beginning and end of the book where the twins got their hair cut; I’m not sure what the purpose of those illustrations were, although I guess they did tie the book up neatly in a way.

  3. I like how Sara identified that the book was broken down into six chapters to make the book more accessible for the children reading them. While I have not worked with children of this age group, I can imagine that “graduating” to a chapter book would be very exciting. I also loved the girl’s outfits. Furthermore, I liked how the pictures were broken down into to smaller, manageable images which directly related to the words on the page. That is so important in an easy reader so that children can use the images to identify the words. Like Sara mentioned, the colors are bright and cheerful which might encourage the children to read on!

  4. Gek Keng says:

    I also noticed how the book was broken down into chapters and I initially thought that it was going to be standalone individual stories without much connection to each other. I was pleasantly surprised to realize that the last chapter “Not a Silly Story” managed to make connections back to the previous stories (e.g. lucky red toy, cupcake tree, jellybeans), which kind of pulls the story back together as a satisfying whole.

    Like Annie and Sara mentioned, I loved the colors too, and appreciated the color choices a lot more after reading the artist’s note, which mentioned that the color palette was inspired by blue summer skies and ripening strawberries. I can imagine this would be extremely enticing to children!

  5. Like Gek Keng said, I really liked how all of the stories were connected in some way. I also liked the bright colors throughout. I was unfamiliar with Lin until this book. Thanks for introducing it to me!

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