Puns, rhymes, vocabulary and wordplay make up this week’s book recommendations. Your kids will laugh out loud at the funny stories and situations presented in these books while learning new words and meanings without even realizing it.
Miss Alaineus: A Vocabulary Disaster by Debra Frasier for kids in grades 3 – 5. “This inventive picture book is a spelling book, a vocabulary book, a game book, and a costume book all rolled into one. Sage, a fifth grader who is home sick, phones a classmate to get her homework assignment. In a big hurry, Starr spells each word out except for the last one. Mistakenly, Sage writes what she hears, Miss Alaineus. When she returns to school, Mrs. Page holds a Vocabulary Bee and gives her the word miscellaneous. Her creative spelling and definition sends the class into gales of laughter, much to Sage’s dismay. Resolution occurs 10 days later when she arrives at the Annual Vocabulary Parade dressed as “Miss Alaineus, Queen of all Miscellaneous Things.” The student’s ability to take her mistake and remake it into a positive experience is a valuable lesson. The text and marker illustrations are detailed and appealing, crammed full of fun ways to promote the study of the English language. There is a hidden-word game on the endpapers, an extra credit assignment using alphabetical sentences on every page, and pictures of Sage’s Vocabulary Parade Scrapbook on the last three pages.
Karen Land, Greenport Public Schools, NY Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.” Review from Amazon.
Quick as a Cricket by Audrey Wood is for kids aged 3 and up. “I’m as quick as a cricket, I’m as slow as a snail. I’m as small as an ant, I’m as large as a whale.” Parents and teachers choose this big square book for the message of self-confidence. Toddlers love it for the singsong phrases and Don Wood’s large, silly, endearing illustrations, which feature a boy mimicking different kinds of animals. At one point, he is pictured sipping tea formally with a fancy poodle (“I’m as tame as a poodle”) and on the very next page he is swinging through trees (“I’m as wild as a chimp”). Whether brave or shy, strong or weak, in the end the young boy celebrates all different, apparently contradictory parts of himself. With a confident grin, he lifts his arms up and declares, “Put it all together and you’ve got ME!” Review from Amazon.
Mary Had a Little Ham by Margie Palatini is for kids in grades K – 3. “Stanley Snoutowski has always been a precocious piggie-and Mary has always encouraged her little ham. In the barn and even at school (where Stanley followed her, even if it was against the rules), Stanley shows star quality. Mary knows she can’t keep him down on the farm, so off he goes to the bright lights of Broadway. The days of cattle calls and nights of waiting tables are rough on the runt, but he perseveres. He knows that with hard work, determination-and a bit of luck-someday he’ll play the ultimate role: Hamlet. This is a laugh-out-loud story of a determined pig and the little girl who believes in him.” Review from Amazon.