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THE B ON YOUR THUMB by Colette Hiller


60 Poems To Boost Reading and Spelling

by Colette Hiller ; illustrated by Tor Freeman

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2020
ISBN: 978-0-7112-5460-2
Publisher: Frances Lincoln

This selection of pithy phonetic poetry is both fun and educational.

Imported from the U.K., the book is divided into four sections: “Sounds,” “Silent letters and secrets,” “Words that sound the same,” and “Homophones.” A foreword assures caregivers (and independent readers) that the book can be read from cover to cover, but it’s OK to “just choose a rhyme that you think your child will enjoy.” With this knowledge (and a handful of other tips and tricks), readers will delight in the poems with their phonetic and spelling hints. Each poem is printed in two colors to allow the letters discussed to stand out and to aid visual connections: “The sh that’s in your shoulder, / the sh that’s in your shoe. / S and H go sh, / that is what they do.” The poems are witty, but a few rely on knowledge of British vocabulary or pronunciation to fully appreciate. These minor quibbles won’t detract from the merrymaking, however. The colorful cartoons feature anthropomorphic letters that elevate the humor and zaniness. The human characters depicted display a range of skin tones, hair textures, and ages, providing young readers a lot of opportunities to find themselves or a friend within the pages. It will work best as a lap book, but a skilled educator might be able to incorporate a poem or two into their storytelling repertoire, especially if they take advantage of the suggested extensions in the backmatter. (This book was reviewed digitally with 11-by-16-inch double-page spreads viewed at 100% of actual size.)

A fun (not frivolous) phonetic friend.

(Picture book/poetry. 5-8)