BARKUS: THE MOST FUN
By: Patricia MacLachlan
Illustrated by: Marc Boutavant
Published: September 21, 2021
Publisher: Chronicle Kids
For kids that are ready for more than a picture book, but not quite ready for a full chapter book, this Barkus series is the perfect book to bridge that gap. There are still pictures to hold the reader’s attention and the longer story helps with practicing their comprehension skills.
Barkus is the dog in the family and Barkus, Baby the kitten, and their family take us along on a year of adventures. We start with summer and Barkus recognizes some of the items the family is packing into the car. He is a very smart dog and knows what is ahead. They are going camping and Barkus is very excited. Even Baby gets to go along (as a stowaway). Each chapter is like a short story with illustrations so kids don’t feel like they are making too big of a jump leaving picture book reading. This format is great for encouraging kids to keep reading longer than what they may have been used to. After reading the first story, they will want to see what happens with Barkus and his family in the spring, fall, and winter too.
The text is still relatively simple with short sentences that are also a bit repetitive throughout the different chapters. The illustrations go right along with the pages just like in a picture book, so if a child is stuck on a word, the pictures may help.
Barkus is a smart, charming, and friendly dog who likes to be in the center of all the family activities. Kids will love Barkus and Baby and their fun adventures. This is the third in the series by MacLachlan who is well known for her Newberry Medal-winner, SARAH, PLAIN AND TALL. BARKUS was inspired by the imagined adventures of her neighbor’s dog.
Patricia MacLachlan was born on the prairie, and to this day carries a small bag of prairie dirt with her wherever she goes to remind her of what she knew first. She is the author of many well-loved novels and picture books. She lives in western Massachusetts.