Roscoe Riley Rules: Don’t Swap Your Sweater for a Dog

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Roscoe Riley Rules: Don’t Swap Your Sweater for a Dog   is the story of Riley and a borrowed dog trying to win a trophy.  The book is reviewed by Melissa Y. at Sweet on Books.

What you need to know:

• The Roscoe Riley Rules series is a welcome new addition to the early chapter book category of children’s literature,
particularly for boys, but girls will equally enjoy it .
• Roscoe, our protagonist, is a first grade boy.
• Roscoe is reminiscent of Junie B., without the outright brattiness. Parents can relax, no bad behavior modeling here.
Just good, old-fashioned kid stuff.
• Roscoe’s trouble is earnest in nature, children will relate to the tricky situations he gets into, but really no naughty
behavior to emulate.

Sweet Series Background:

Each book begins with Roscoe in a time out, and Roscoe, being the optimist that he is, declares this will be a perfect time to explain to you, the reader, just what happened. Roscoe didn’t mean to get in trouble, trouble just kind of follows him. As Roscoe says, “Kids have to follow so many rules! Sometimes my brain forgets to remember them all. It’s not like I try to find ways to get in trouble. it’s just that trouble has a way of finding me.” The stories are chock-full of hilarity and slapstick situations with safe resolutions.

Applegate does a great job with this early chapter book series. I think she really captures the voice of a 6/7 year old, and her classroom scenes are authentic and hilarious! Kids will feel comforted that she is describing what really happens in a first grade classroom and will probably recognize elements of their own classroom. Roscoe’s observations at home and in the classroom are witty and dry. Parents can enjoy reading this series aloud to their young reader, as well as newly independent readers will enjoy reading it to themselves. The author, Applegate, has written many, many books for children, including the Animorphs, EverWorld and Remnants series, but Roscoe Riley is her first series for a younger audience.

Sweet Book Summary:

Roscoe really, really wants a trophy. Roscoe’s little sister has a bazillion trophies from preschool, including being the best skipper in the class. Best friend Gus has a trophy from Karate and best friend Emma has a trophy from piano playing. Even Roscoe’s mom has a trophy for being the best girl scout cookie seller. What’s a kid to do if he wants a trophy and doesn’t have one? Well, you borrow someone’s dog, trade the sweater your grandma made you (with love) and enter the pet trick contest, of course. Well, that’s what you do if you are Roscoe. And of course, you have lots of fun, a little bit of trouble and a couple regrets along the way. In the end, Roscoe does the right thing as he always does, and imparts a few lessons to the young reader, all in a very entertaining story.

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