Diane Prather

Diane Prather

Diane Prather: Book inspires youngsters to read

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Diane Prather

Diane Prather's columns appear in the Craig Daily Press and Saturday Morning Press. You can call her at 824-8809.

— Tyrone Brown, the central character in this week's picture book, calls himself a professional class clown. It isn't that Tyrone is an overachiever. He solves the math problem of the day each day, and he lives for science experiments.

But, Tyrone doesn't like to read. He thinks it's boring.

"Read All About It!" is a brand new book, written by Laura and Jenna Bush. Denise Brunkus illustrated the book.

It's the first day of school at Good Day Elementary. Tyrone meets up with his pals: Edmund, Jane and Big D. They're his class clown accomplices.

Miss Libro, the homeroom teacher, sits at her desk. Behind her, on the chalkboard, is a "Read All About It" list of books, including "Clifford, the Big Red Dog" and "Miss Nelson is Missing."

They begin class with a discussion about books. Miss Libro asks Tyrone about his favorite book. Tyrone just answers that books are "so last year."

Miss Libro says the library is a wonderful place. Tyrone says it's a boring place. He probably never has visited the library.

Tyrone would rather play on the monkey bars, catch a ball, or even pull weeds than spend time with books.

Every day after lunch, Miss Libro reads to the students. There's a pile of books on her desk about fairy tales, mysteries, a pig and more. One day, she reads to them about an astronaut. Everyone listen intently - even the class guinea pig - except Tyrone. He sits in the back of the room coloring his shoe with a marker.

Then he makes a paper airplane and flies it toward the chalkboard. Miss Libro tells Tyrone to listen. Everyone else loves the book.

Sure enough, when Tyrone looks around, he notices even his buddies are listening. Nobody paid any attention to the paper airplane.

So, guess what? Tyrone does pay attention to the story, and, remarkably, he likes it. From that day on, things change drastically for him.

On Halloween, when Miss Libro reads a story about a ghost, it flies right out of the book and floats overhead. The ghost wears glasses and carries a whole bunch of pencils.

In the days ahead, Benjamin Franklin visits the classroom, so does a fire-breathing dragon. And then Miss Libro starts reading the students a book about a pudgy, pink pig. The pig sits right there on the reading rug with the children.

The day that Miss Libro finishes reading the book and closes it, the most amazing thing happens.

Talk about inspiring youngsters to read. This is a must-read book.

It is First Lady Laura Bush's first picture book. The White House Conference on Global Literact (2006) was only one of the many events she has hosted to promote literacy.

Jenna Bush taught elementary school in Washington, D.C., and has written articles for several well-known periodicals. Her first book was "Ana's Story: A Journey of Hope."

Denise Brunkus has illustrated more than 60 books, perhaps best known for her work on the "Junie B. Jones" series.

"Read All About It!" is published by HarperCollinsPublishers (2008) and costs $17.99 in hardcover. It's also a new book at the Moffat County Library.

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