Fun on many levels, this has a sure spot in classrooms and storytimes as fable, grammar lesson and wordplay all rolled into...

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AUNT ANT LEAVES THROUGH THE LEAVES

A STORY WITH HOMOPHONES AND HOMONYMS

Coffelt masterfully weaves a lesson in words around a familiar "Little Red Hen" moral, making this one entertaining teaching tool.

Monkey needs help transporting his bananas home so he can make banana cream pie. But Ant is a new aunt anxious to see her niece, Bee has too much to do, with a honey shipment due, and Bear must wash the fir sap off his fur. Gnu, Ewe, Horse and Deer also find more pressing matters, and each leaves through the leaves without helping. Just when Monkey is about to do it all himself, Ant comes back to pitch in. They make the pies and share the tasty results. Predictably, the other animals want some pie, too, but Monkey only provides after they all help in the cleaning up. The five homonym pairs and 29 homophone combinations are bolded within the text, making them easy to spot. Coffelt keeps her textured oil pastel illustrations simple, so as not to detract from the wordplay, but what they may lack in detail they more than make up in rich, vibrant color and visual humor. Aunt Ant directs her little army from underneath a purple foreman's cap. Backmatter defines homophones and homonyms and addresses the regional pronunciations that can affect whether or not two words sound the same.

Fun on many levels, this has a sure spot in classrooms and storytimes as fable, grammar lesson and wordplay all rolled into one. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-8234-2353-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Feb. 5, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2012

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While this is a fairly bland treatment compared to Deborah Lee Rose and Carey Armstrong-Ellis’ The Twelve Days of...

ON THE FIRST DAY OF KINDERGARTEN

Rabe follows a young girl through her first 12 days of kindergarten in this book based on the familiar Christmas carol.

The typical firsts of school are here: riding the bus, making friends, sliding on the playground slide, counting, sorting shapes, laughing at lunch, painting, singing, reading, running, jumping rope, and going on a field trip. While the days are given ordinal numbers, the song skips the cardinal numbers in the verses, and the rhythm is sometimes off: “On the second day of kindergarten / I thought it was so cool / making lots of friends / and riding the bus to my school!” The narrator is a white brunette who wears either a tunic or a dress each day, making her pretty easy to differentiate from her classmates, a nice mix in terms of race; two students even sport glasses. The children in the ink, paint, and collage digital spreads show a variety of emotions, but most are happy to be at school, and the surroundings will be familiar to those who have made an orientation visit to their own schools.

While this is a fairly bland treatment compared to Deborah Lee Rose and Carey Armstrong-Ellis’ The Twelve Days of Kindergarten (2003), it basically gets the job done. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: June 21, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-234834-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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Thank you, Gerald and Piggie. We’ll miss you

THE THANK YOU BOOK

From the Elephant & Piggie series

Piggie is “one lucky pig,” and she’s determined to make sure she thanks “everyone who is important to” her in this, the final Elephant & Piggie book.

Gerald is sure his friend will forget someone—“someone important”—but Piggie assures him, “It will be a THANK-O-RAMA!” Piggie proceeds to thank the Squirrels for their great ideas, Snake for playing ball, and the Pigeon “for never giving up.” Piggie thanks and thanks: “I am a thanking machine!” She thanks character after character, even the Flies (“Any time, dude!”), as Gerald continues to interject that she’ll forget “someone VERY important.” Finally Piggie runs out of thanks, and by this time Gerald is steamed. “I goofed,” Piggie says in itty-bitty type, before lavishing thanks on Gerald. But that’s not whom Piggie forgot to thank! A classic Willems tantrum later, Gerald reveals the “someone important”: “Our reader.” Of course. “We could not be ‘us’ without you,” says Gerald, earnestly looking out from the page, and Piggie chimes in, “You are the best!” As Elephant & Piggie books go, this isn’t one of the strongest, but it is a validating valediction to fans of the two characters, who have won Willems two Geisel Medals and five Honors. Yes, Gerald and Piggie have ushered countless readers into literacy, but as they rightly note, reading is a collaborative act.

Thank you, Gerald and Piggie. We’ll miss you . (Early reader. 5-8)

Pub Date: May 3, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4231-7828-6

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 10, 2016

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