Merren and the Heron


Worth reading 😎

This story moves smoothly from beginning to end, its sing-song rhythm encouraging it to be read aloud.

A class trip to the zoo is enhanced by a special competition set by the teacher: whoever can photograph an animal that rhymes with their name will win. One by one, students set off in search of an animal that rhymes with their name. Ryan looks for the lion, Anita waits for the cheetah, and Myrtle seeks a turtle. Unfortunately, many of the coveted animals are out of sight or out of reach, and the children struggle to capture any of the animals on film. By teatime, there is no winner and it becomes obvious that Merren is nowhere to be found; instead of continuing the competition, the other students go searching for their friend. Fearing the worst, Merren’s classmates search high and low, ultimately finding her with her goal achieved and picture in hand.

Readers will delight in the layered rhyming presentation of this story. Not only are the characters seeking rhyming animals themselves, but the text itself is presented in rhyming couplets on each page. As the story progresses, readers of all ages will be attempting to discover the rhyming animal for each name introduced. However, it is worth noting that one of the rhymes fails to work with an American accent while it works easily with a British accent. Even with this small inconsistency, the premise is enjoyable and fun to replicate.

The illustrations are bright and richly colored, featuring primarily white characters in an upper-middle class setting. Once the other students begin searching for Merren, she appears in the background of the images, inspiring readers to actively interact with the illustrations as the story is being read. Overall, the story moves smoothly from beginning to end, its sing-song rhythm encouraging it to be read aloud. Early elementary school-aged readers will enjoy reading this story in preparation for their own trip to the zoo.

Grades K-2

Reviewed by

My career has focused on children’s literature, primarily, but I have a love for YA books, too. I began reviewing books in 2015, since which time I have had over 500 published reviews!

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A school trip to the zoo starts with a fun rhyming challenge that soon leads to a different case needing to be solved. Merren has wandered off and becomes separated from her friends however all ends well, with a proud announcement of her own.

About the author

From West Wycombe in the U.K, Tony's large family was likely the catalyst for his voyage into writing his own children's books. 'Merren and the Heron' was inspired by a trip to Regents Park where his daughter became fascinated by an incredibly brave bird almost joining her to pose for the camera. view profile

Published on December 01, 2020

0-1000 words

Worked with a Reedsy professional 🏆

Genre: Children's

Reviewed by