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Winding Oak's Bookology Magazine

Bookstorm: Leroy Ninker Saddles Up


In this Bookstorm:

Leroy Ninker Saddles Up. Tales from Deckawoo Drive, Book 1.

Kate DiCamillo, illustrated by Chris Van Dusen.
Candlewick Press, 2014

“Leroy Ninker has a hat, a lasso, and boots. What he doesn’t have is a horse — until he meets Maybelline, that is, and then it’s love at first sight. Maybelline loves spaghetti and sweet nothings, and she loves Leroy, too. But when Leroy forgets the third and final rule of caring for Maybelline, disaster ensues. Can Leroy wrestle fate to the ground, rescue the horse of his heart, and lasso loneliness for good? Join Leroy, Maybelline, and a cast of familiar characters — Stella, Frank, Mrs. Watson, and everyone’s favorite porcine wonder, Mercy — for some hilarious and heartfelt horsing around on Deckawoo Drive.”

Early Chapter Books. Leroy Ninker Saddles Up is written in a way that beginning readers will find approachable and satisfying. There are chapters, each one a short tale. The vocabulary is accessible. In beginning readers, there are illustrations for children who are most familiar with picture books but the emphasis shifts toward reading. You’ll find a number of complementary titles in the Bookstorm, some of which focus on horses.

Friendship. Whether it’s unlikely friendships between animals, good friends old and young, or comforting a fearful friend, we recommend books that will pair well with Leroy Ninker Saddles Up, in which inseparable friends Leroy and Maybelline find joy.

Cowboys. Leroy Ninker abandons his life of crime to work in a drive-in theater, but being a cowboy appeals to him. You’ll find true stories about cowboys in this section of the Bookstorm™, including Cowboy Up! Ride the Navajo Rodeo, about families who work hard to be their best on the rodeo circuit.

Horses. Leroy Ninker loves Maybelline, his horse unlike any other. You’ll find recommended picture books and chapter books about horses, fiction and nonfiction, including Marguerite Henry’s classic, Misty of Chincoteague.

Drive-In Theaters. There are very few left in the country, but Leroy works at one and many adults remember the fun of watching a movie in your PJs, tucked inside your parents’ car, slapping at the mosquitoes, and eating food from the concessions stand. We recommend a website that brings the experience to life.

Spaghetti. It’s Maybelline’s favorite food and a wonderful way to engage your students in discussions about science and math. We recommend cookbooks for those who enjoy nonfiction best.

Size. Leroy is on the short side and Maybelline is on the tall side. Books such as Actual Size by Steve Jenkins will have your students comparing and contrasting with ease.

Kindness. The book inspires discussions about being kind and accepting others. We’ve recommended books that will add to the discussion, including The Name Jar by Yangsook Choi.

Weather. A storm is an important plot element in Leroy and Maybelline’s story. Several books about weather, ranging from picture books to beginning readers, from fiction to nonfiction, are included for your inspiration.

Techniques for using each book:


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