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Reviewed by Kellen Roggenbuck for Readers' Favorite
Uh-oh, Uncle Unruh by Sally Lee Baker is a tongue-twisting story about Uncle Unruh, a unicorn who enjoys riding unicycles. Unruh, Urla, and umpteen other unicorns ride unicycles together with calamitous results in this educational ‘U’ themed book. Unruh rides, falls off, remounts, and falls off his unicycle again. Urchins, depicted by Sally Lee Baker’s grandchildren in the illustrations, compete with the unicorns in a unicycling competition. They too prepare for the competition and, after a fierce one-wheeled battle, Uncle Unruh the unicorn and Ursula the ukulele-strumming Urchin end up in a tie. Everyone congratulates them, and the letter ‘U’ is used extensively.
Uh-oh, Uncle Unruh is an exploration of the versatility of the letter ‘U’ that would be a great study for an intermediate reader. There are several unique words within this story which would be an opportunity to expand the vocabulary of a new reader. Each letter ‘U’ is bold in the text, so it is easy to see the different sounds a ‘U’ makes. The story is simple and involves colorful characters with unusual names as it follows a simple plot that has a happy ending for all. Unruh, Ulysses, Urla, Ursula and other ‘U’ names are featured, perfect for children that don’t usually see their names in print. The illustrations are mixed media using primarily graphic design scenes and photos depicting Sally Lee Baker’s grandchildren, creating an interesting visual for each page. By the end of this book, you will have an intimate understanding of all things ‘U’!