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New books by CLiF presenters Michael Daley and Jessie Haas

April 27, 2012

Kids love to laugh. So what better way to help them cross the threshold into a lifetime of reading on their own than with easy, funny books? Two new beginning reader books by Westminster, Vermont husband and wife authors, Michael J. Daley and Jessie Haas, are guaranteed to open the door to reading with lots of laughs.

Michael and Jessie are long-time CLIF presenters. They’ve done several author visit programs, as well as writer-in-residences, to help further CLIF’s work.

Michael’s Pinch and Dash Make Soup tells a tale of two friends, one lazy and one a great cook, who turn skinny soup into fat soup in a zany take off on the old Stone Soup tale. In the process they learn that being good friends sometimes involves compromise. “My passion for food and cooking began early in life,” says Michael, who at age six could be found frying shredded newspaper on his Nana’s steam radiator. “Pinch and Dash came to life with word play on those familiar cooking terms.”

In Bramble and Maggie: Horse Meets Girl, Jessie proves once again that she is the ‘reigning queen of all things equine’ with a delightful story about a strong-minded horse in search of just the right girl—not just any girl—and a horse-crazy girl in search of just the right horse—not just any horse. Jessie says, “I wrote Bramble and Maggie while getting to know my new horse, Robin. Like Bramble, she has her little ways, but we are now good friends. She thinks I still have a lot to learn, though!”

Experts agree that simplicity, word play, short sentences, and repetition are some of the key qualities beginning reader books must possess to help new readers find the confidence to read on their own. Early reviews by such respected authorities as The Horn Book, School Library Journal, and The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books write that Michael and Jessie’s new books have these qualities in spades.

“Haas’ latest hits all the right notes,” Kirkus Reviews says of Bramble and Maggie, while The Horn Book praises Haas’ narrative voice as “superb”. The Bulletin says of Pinch and Dash: “Daley’s effective use of repeated words and phrases, simple vocabulary, and grouping of events into four chapters make this very accessible to novices, while the gentle situational humor will also help facilitate readers’ digestion of this easy reader.”

Michael and Jessie plan to do a number of reading and signing events for their books in the region. Check their websites for upcoming events: and

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