by William Steig (1972)

William Steig was an acclaimed cartoonist and children’s author. His work includes the Caldecott winner, Sylvester and the Magic Pebble, and even the original Shrek. Famous for his winsome line drawings and his vocabulary rich prose, he wrote two famous full-fledged novels for children – National Book Award finalist, Dominic, and Newbery Honor book, Abel’s Island.

Dominic is an ideal book for families making the transition from picture books to chapter books. Each chapter contains plenty of action – and two to three Steig pictures, too. The action is quick and plentiful. And yet Dominic is not a comic book. His adventures are also full of occasional moments of quiet reflection or piccolo playing.

Finally, Steig’s aggressive, playful, imaginative use of vocabulary enriches the prose. Check out the vocabulary in Dominic which contains words worthy of the SAT, and yet the prose can easily be followed and understood and treasured by a first grader. That’s the magic of reading aloud, courtesy of William Steig.