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Here’s Hank #4: Fake Snakes and Weird Wizards
Author: Henry Winkler and Lin Oliver
Illustrator: Scott Garrett
Published February 10th, 2015 by Grosset & Dunlap

Goodreads Summary: Hank’s sister Emily wants Ralph’s Reptile Show to perform at her birthday party more than anything, but Ralph is booked solid. So Hank comes up with a plan: he’ll disguise himself as a magician called The Westside Wizard and pull a snake from thin air! But when Hank’s true identity is revealed during his performance, his good deed might just turn into a huge disaster.

About the Authors: Henry Winkler is an actor, producer, and director, and he speaks publicly all over the world. In addition, he has a star on the Hollywood Boulevard, was awarded an honorary Order of the British Empire, and the jacket he wore as the Fonz hangs in the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, DC. But if you asked him what he was proudest of, he would say, “Writing the Hank Zipzer books with my partner, Lin Oliver,” He lives in Los Angeles with his wide, Stacey. They have three children named Jed, Zoe, and Max, and two dogs named Monty and Charlotte. Charlotte catches a ball so well that she could definitely play outfield for the New York Mets.

Lin Oliver is a writer and producer of movies, book, and television series for children and families. She has written more than twenty-five novels for children and one hundred episodes of television. She is cofounder and executive director of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, an international organization of twenty thousand authors and illustrators of children’s books. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, Alan. They have three sons named Theo, Ollie, and Cole. She loves tuna melts, curious kids, any sport that involves a racket and children’s book writers everywhere.

My Review: I like Hank! I am so glad to be introduced to him! Hank is a good friend, a great brother, and just all around a good kid. This book was all about how he was going to make sure his sister’s birthday party was the best she could have. Throughout there are some funny moments and some definite “learning a lesson” times, but in the end, it is all about friends and family. I like that although Hank is a bit of a funny guy, he isn’t a trouble maker or bad kid. He is a good role model, but not over-the-top goody-goody. I think kids are going to really like him, and his books are a great early chapter book!

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: This is the first book I’ve read that was published in Dyslexie, an easy-to-read font designed especially for dyslexic readers. Dyslexie is “designed to make letters more distinct from one another and to keep them tied down, so to speak, so that the readers are less likely to flip them in their minds. The letters in the font are also spaced wide apart to make reading them easier.” I love that Winkler, a dyslexic, is using his published novels to help make books more accessible to readers with learning disabilities.

A few facts about dyslexia:
  • 1 in 10 Americans has dyslexia
  • Over 40 million American adults have dyslexia and only 2 million know it
  • 20% of school-aged children in the US are dyslexic
  • Dyslexia is not tied to IQ (over 50% of NASA employees are dyslexic, as was Einstein and many other leading thinkers)

I would definitely recommend these books for classroom libraries! Not only because of the new font but because Hank is such a relatable and good kid!

Discussion Questions: Do you think Emily should have been mad at Hank?; What type of personality traits does Hank show by not giving up on learning the magic trick?; What is the one thing you would love to have at your next birthday party?

We Flagged: “Our family was spending the morning at the West End Avenue street fair. The whole block was lined with booths selling everything from blueberry muffins to tube socks. Leave it to Emily to find the one snake booth. That girl can sniff out a reptile better than my dog, Cheerio, can sniff out a hunk of pot roast under the dining-room table.” (p. 2)

Read This If You Loved: Cody and the Fountain of Happiness by Tricia Springstubb, Lulu and the Brontosaurus by Judith Viorst, Marty McGuire by Kate Messner, Leroy Ninker Saddles Up by Kate DiCamillo

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**Thank you to Penguin Young Readers for providing a copy for review!**

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