This latest installment in the Big Words Small Stories series follows an active girl named Oleander and her laid-back pet, Sally Mander.
Following the same pattern as the previous series entries (The Traveling Dustball, 2019, etc.), five small stories are preceded by a “Who’s Who” section and followed by “A Small Play on Big Words.” The gray-haired Sprinkle Fairy has a word factory in Sicily, where her multicolored, animate-candy helpers, the Sprinklers, “sprinkle Big Words into small places.” Their appearance in an episode (along with their announcement, “Big word coming! BIG!”) precipitates the appearance of a big word at the climax of the story. The stories unfold in dialogue among characters, often punctuated with acts of magic by the Sprinkle Fairy. After being used repeatedly in the story, each big word is defined at the story’s end. The final “Small Play” is a skit presented by the Sprinklers in which all of the Big Words are used in context. The format makes the process of learning new vocabulary, such as “regurgitate,” “flabbergasted” and “peccadillo,” fun and exciting for young readers. The stories themselves are chuckleworthy, and the Big Word usage is delightful. The illustrations—small, brightly colored vignettes of characters on white space, almost like comics without the frames—are perfect for young independent readers. Oleander presents black, with two puffy pigtails, and the Sprinkle Fairy presents white.
A sure win for word lovers that’s also bound to create some new fans of words. (Early reader. 6-10)