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BOY MEETS DOG by Valerie Wyatt


A Word Game Adventure

by Valerie Wyatt ; illustrated by Dave Whamond

Age Range: 4 - 8

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 2013
ISBN: 978-1-55453-824-9
Publisher: Kids Can

Wyatt introduces kids to word ladders, in which a starting word leads step by step, by the substitution of one letter at a time, to a final word.

Lewis Carroll, who came up with lots of good word games, invented one called “doublets,” in which you took a word and changed one letter at a time to arrive at another word, often an opposite; for instance, push to pull: push, hush, husk, hulk, hull, pull. Easy peasy. Rain to snow, in eight moves. It’s a bit like chess, and it can be just as exasperating and invigorating. OK, here you go: rain, raid, said, slid, slip, ship, shop, show, snow. But you knew that, right? Almost any introduction to this word game is worth the entrance fee, and this one passes the mark easily. The artwork deftly and colorfully borrows from conventions of animation to provide two-page scenes that carry readers on each word journey, and there is a little narrative twist at the end, about whether or not a character is real or just a toy (boy into toy), which forces readers to stake a grasp on reality as they twist and turn these words into those words. A note at the end should set readers, both adults and kids, on their way to making their own word ladders.

Now: good to book. Just three rungs up (good, goon, boon, book) and well-worth the climb. (Picture book. 4-8)