The Mr. Putter and Tabby series are the sort of books that I would have loved to have when I was a beginning reader. I know that I would have read them over and over again to no end, even once they began to fall apart from constant use. That's why I am so glad that Mr. Putter and Tabby are around now while my youngest brother is learning to read. The non-repetitious, non-rhyming storytelling contained within the books makes them a pleasure to read continually, unlike many other easy-reader books. And in my opinion, the Mr. Putter and Tabby books are a step in front of Ms. Rylant's Henry and Mudge collection, due to the fact that, in their own way, they create an appreciation for the elderly as the reader comes to love Mr. Putter, the aging main character whose only companion is his cat, Tabby.
In Mr. Putter and Tabby Pour the Tea, the first book in the series, Mr. Putter comes to know Tabby. During the first chapter, Mr. Putter expresses the feelings of loneliness and the desire for companionship that the elderly so often have. Thereafter, he chooses to adopt a cat, and the story continues to describe the affection they gain towards each other.
Mr. Howard's cartoon-style illustrations greatly enhance this wonderful story, which is written in such a format to be used as either a 3-chapter book for the beginning reader, or a bedtime story that is longer in length, opening into a possible discussion with your child about the significance of friendship in the elderly person's life. Either way, the Mr. Putter and Tabby books would be a great find for emerging readers' shelves. Like having a kindly old grandpa next door, they only make life richer!