Praise for Rocket's Mighty WordsReview, PUBLISHERS WEEKLY, August 5, 2013: "The star of How Rocket Learned to Read and Rocket Writes a Story helps readers share his appreciation for words in this large-format board book. Each spread showcases anywhere from four to 23 words. Most feature Rocket in outdoor settings, as Hills shares parts of canine anatomy (tail, paw, ear), actions (wag, dig, nap), and prepositions (Rocket appears “in” and “out” of a log). Two “chalkboard” spreads feature chalk drawings of an array of common objects, and Rocket’s yellow bird friend wraps things up with a collection of “small words that will come in handy,” including from, now, since, how, and then. Rocket continues to be a winning guide dog of the literary kind. Ages 2–5. (July)"Review, KIRKUS REVIEWS, September 1, 2013: "Hills’ adorable black-and-white spotted dog named Rocket (How Rocket Learned to Read, 2010; Rocket Writes a Story, 2012) returns in this oversized vocabulary primer.
There’s no narrative to speak of here; this is a simple introduction to words for new readers. Children are first introduced to terms such as “dog,” “tail,” ear” and “spot” as they are printed on and around an iconic image of Rocket, running blissfully along with head thrown back, eyes closed and stick clutched firmly in his jaws. A spread featuring vignettes of Rocket in action presents verbs such as “wag,” “dig,” “sniff” and “nap.” Two spreads are painted to resemble giant chalkboards covered with nouns and simple drawings representing each one, while the final pages feature Rocket’s little yellow bird friend and a set of sight words on notecards scattered across a meadow. Many of the charming images will be familiar to readers, as they have appeared before, in part or whole, in other Rocket adventures.
Nothing really new here, but Rocket fans—at least those who don’t consider themselves too old for board books—may enjoy using this as a tool for practicing word recognition with the sweet puppy they’ve come to love. (Board book. 3-6)"
Praise for Rocket Writes a Story
- School Library Journal, Best of Children's Books 2012
- Kids' Indie Next List, Summer 2012
Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews, March 15, 2012: "A perfect choice to inspire new readers and writers."
Starred Review, Publishers Weekly, May 14, 2012: “Hills is adept at showing Rocket’s setbacks and successes while offering excellent tips for children following in the dog’s footsteps…Hills gently demonstrates the power of stories to build bridges.”
Starred Review, School Library Journal, July 2012: “Listeners, readers, and aspiring writers will appreciate the excellent description of the many ways that stories unfold.”
Praise for How Rocket Learned to Read
- A New York Times bestseller
- A 2010 Parent's Choice Silver Award
- An Autumn 2010 Children’s Indie Next Pick
Review, CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, September 12, 2010: "A perfect picture book for kids 3-7."
Review, THE BOSTON GLOBE, October 3, 2010: "A picture book all about the joys of reading could easily turn preachy and dull. But “How Rocket Learned to Read’’ defies gravity. Rocket is lovable, the little feathered teacher adorable. Hills tells his sprightly story as needed, not one word more or less. His pictures flow with soft color and movement. Hills makes this a story of friendship. It may persuade tentative kindergarteners that school is worth a try; teachers and librarians will love it."
Review, KIRKUS REVIEWS, June 15, 2010: "Hills’s gentle, sweet tale is a paean to the joy of reading and the teachers that inspire it."
Review, PUBLISHERS WEEKLY, June 14, 2010: "With characters as memorable as those in Hills’s Duck and Goose series, this good-natured story shows readers how Rocket, a spotted puppy, becomes a beginning reader, thanks to a little yellow bird."
Review, SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL, July 2010: "Youngsters will find this addition to Hills’s cast of adorable animal characters simply irresistible."