The books featured characters named Sam and Ann, their brother or neighbor boy Walter, a yellow poodle named Nip and an orange cat named Tab. The first few books were boring as hell, where the kids sat on pins, ate mints, blah blah. The last 3 or 4 books in the series got interesting -- oddly, the whole series started focusing on Greek or Roman mythology. Sam and Ann went on adventures in the ancient world, such as Sam cutting the Gordian knot with a sword. (No more repetitive mention of mints, pins, or fish, thank God.)
It was the early 70's, and I wonder if the authors had gotten ahold of some
psychedelic drugs, the change was so abrupt. It was a *very* good explanation of the ancient gods, though, so good that years later I took a mythology class in college and it was just like a review of this 3rd grade material. (And I got an "A" thanks to Sam and Ann, ha ha!)
I've been googling the characters' names, mythology, children's readers, etc., with no luck. I'd love to find these last books (the mythology ones) on eBay, but no luck. Did anyone else have these reading books in school, or know what I'm talking about?
FOUND! Sullivan Programmed Readers, McGraw-Hill publishers, Cynthia Buchanan.