HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: The Little Old Man Who Could Not Read
Author: Irma Simonton Black
Illustrator: Seymour Fleishman
Publisher: Readers Digest, republished in 1974
Language level: 1
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Reading level: Ages 4-8
Rating: ***** 5 stars (EXCELLENT)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Black, Irma Simonton. The Little Old Man Who Could Not Read (published in 1968 by Parents Magazine Press, New York City, NY, a division of Albert Whitman & Company). An elderly toymaker has never wanted to learn to read until his wife goes away on a visit and he has to do the shopping by himself. The man gets home, somehow having purchased a wide variety of things which he thinks are foods but in fact really aren’t. One after one, each item turns out to be inedible. For example, what he thinks is oatmeal is actually soap. Finally, his wife comes back, and, after hearing him tell her what happened, she manages to teach him to read. Some people who are wont to over-analyze the book from a psychiatric viewpoint may not like it, but most people, and especially youngsters, will appreciate the fun way that it teaches kids the importance of learning to read. When children go shopping with their parents, they can understand how necessary reading is to pick out the right things. Irma Simonton Black also wrote The Little Old Man Who Cooked and Cleaned.