Posts Tagged ‘humor’
Posted on September 13, 2012 by Terry Doherty in Classroom Ideas, Personal Experiences, Reading Lists.
Tags: book review, Books, humor, Math books for kids, math concepts, Math picture books, nonfiction picture books, read alouds, Standards of Learning, Sylvan Dell Publishing
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I must confess: math is not my strong suit. I am a Word Girl. Still, as we point out to my nearly 11-year-old daughter, math is part of our everyday life. We use it all the time … often without realizing it.
About six years ago, we discovered Sylvan Dell’s series of math-based picture books. The publisher had sent me some titles to review for The Reading Tub, my nonprofit. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect. My daughter was in Kindergarten and the concepts offered by One Odd Day, My Even Day, and My Half Day were just what we needed. In fact, she enjoyed them so much she took them to school to share with her classmates. As my daughter’s Kindergarten teacher said “[These books] succeed in getting the kids excited about math. You can’t ask for more than that.”
What began with One Odd Day has now gone on to include picture books that help kids with concepts like addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. With the exception of The Great Divide by Suzanne Slade (division) , we have not seen the other titles. Still, I’m betting they are just as wonderful as these three …
One Odd Day
by Doris Fisher and Dani Sneed; illustrated by Karen Lee
Sylvan Dell Publishing, 2006
Is it really possible? This is truly odd! From the numbers on the clock, to the sleeves on his shirt, our young student has a day filled with nothing but odd numbers. Even Princess, his dog, has five legs! This rhyming book helps children learn and distinguish odd numbers.
- The class (25 Kindergarteners) laughed their way through the numbers, pointing out lots of the smaller elements in the illustrations.
- Humorous illustrations and a rhyming story combine to help kids identify odd numbers from 1 to 99. A coloring activity at the back helps them create visual effects of number patterns for themselves.
- “I love these books and I’m going to order them for my classroom.”
- You’ll want to have it at home for several of the early math years, because it will help reinforce learning in a way that makes sense to them.
My Even Day
by Doris Fisher and Dani Sneed; illustrated by Karen Lee
Sylvan Dell Publishing, 2007
What would you do if your mom had two heads and you had two left shoes? How would you handle the class trip to the zoo? Such are the dilemmas our young student faces when he wakes up and realizes that everything in his day is an even number!
- The Kindergarten class (25 kids) had a lot of fun with the story. They liked the silliness of it and there was plenty of laughter.
- We read this with One Odd Day so when we got to the end and our student sees only half his hair, they were ready to read about fractions!
My Half Day
by Doris Fisher and Dani Sneed; illustrated by Karen Le
Sylvan Dell Publishing, 2008
In words and imagery, My Half Day walks children through the portions of life. This is a humorous fantasy that builds learning fractions into the story.
- Our daughter has been waiting anxiously for this book ever since her class read My Even Day. She laughed her way through the book, pointing out the differences, changes, and otherwise funny things (like camp counselors on skates).
- This is fun to read, and the illustrations offer lots of opportunities for exploring (with or without reading the text). It will take a couple more readings before our child gets past the humor of the story and settles in to its lessons.
- For kids who are just learning fractions or are struggling with them, this would be a handy book to have. It’s much more fun than flashcards.
Josh Schneider wins the coveted 2012 Theodor Seuss Geisel Award.
An announcement in Dallas this week made Josh Schneider a very happy man. The author and illustrator is the recipient of the 2012 Theodor Seuss Geisel Award for his children’s book, “Tales for Very Picky Eaters.”
The Theodor Seuss Geisel Award is given to the author and illustrator of the book deemed as the “most distinguished American book for beginning readers published in English in the United States during the preceding year.” The Association Library Service to Children (ALSC) – a division of the American Library Association (ALA) – administers the award annually. This year the award was announced in Dallas during ALA’s mid-winter meeting, Jan. 20-24.
The award is given in memory of Theodor Geisel, the renowned children’s author known as “Dr. Seuss,” and to recognize contemporary winners for “their literary and artistic achievements that demonstrate creativity and imagination to engage children in reading.” The first Theodor Seuss Geisel Award was presented in 2006 to author Cynthia Rylant and illustrator Suçie Stevenson for their book “Henry and Mudge and the Great Grandpas.”
Schneider and other honorees will receive their awards in June in Anaheim, Ca., during the ALA’s annual conference.
“Tales for Very Picky Eaters” is a five-chapter book about a boy named James, who refuses to eat foods he considers disgusting, smelly, repulsive, lumpy or slimy. His clever dad plays a big role in the storyline, offering outrageous suggestions and rationale to get his son to be more daring with his dining. The text is paired with cartoon-like illustrations executed in watercolor, colored pencil, and pen and ink.
“The dialogue presents some preposterous situations but even the most challenging words are presented in context so beginning readers can easily discern their meaning,” said Carole Fiore, head of the Geisel Award Committee. “The touches of humor make this book an engaging page turner.”
Three additional Geisel Honor Books were named:
- “I Broke My Trunk,” the story of an elephant, written and illustrated by Mo Willems and published by Hyperion Books for Children.
- “I Want My Hat Back,” a story about honesty and loss, written and illustrated by Jon Klassen and published by Candlewick Press.
- “See Me Run,” a dog-infused story, written and illustrated by Paul Meisel and published by Holiday House.
With more than 4,000 children’s librarians, literature experts, publishers and educational faculty in its network, ALSC is dedicated to the support and enhancement of library service to children to create a better future for the next generation. Big Universe Learning also is a champion of children’s education and literacy. At last count, the online learning community had:
- 272,389 members from 166 countries
- 3,506 publishing company books, read 2,384,653 times
- 673,494 books stored on members’ personal bookshelves
- 172,575 bookshelves followed by members
- 42,500 books created by members
***NOTE: Humor is a great way to engage readers, both young and old. Check out “Humor: Be Still My ‘Beeting’ Heart,” a blog I wrote about another children’s book that deals with eating issues. It’s on Big Universe, and it’s one of my favs!
It’s true. I don’t like Dr. Seuss.
There, I said it…on his birthday, no less. I imagine this is a form of blasphemy, a veritable act of treason, but I just had to get it off my chest!
While I mean no disrespect to Theodor Seuss Geisel himself – who was born on March 2nd 106 years ago in Springfield, Mass. – I have to be honest. His books creeped me out as a child. (They sit on the same memory shelf as “The Wizard of Oz” and all those flying monkey things.)
The stories involved naughty characters and scenarios of impending doom. It was a little much for a sensitive kid with a highly developed imagination, a quick trigger finger over the “Guilt” button, and a hyperactive sympathy response. (If my brother got in trouble, I would be the one crying when it was all over.)
In my world, “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” and “Horton Hears a Who” were horrible stories. A thief was going to steal Christmas, my very favorite day of the year, and a little miniature civilization was going to be crushed despite the efforts of a well-meaning elephant. Don’t even get me started on “The Cat in the Hat” stories or “Green Eggs and Ham!”
Those siblings in the Cat story were going to be in BIG trouble when their mom got home and found the house a disaster. The Cat and Thing One and Thing Two were uninvited guests and did not jibe with my inner “voice of reason” or my healthy fear of strangers.
And, for goodness sake, green eggs and ham? That entrée sounded particularly disgusting to a girl from a “clean-your-plate-or-you-do-not-leave-the-table” household.
The illustrations were particularly creepy to me, too. I did not find them funny or cute. I loved animals, but these characters didn’t look like the soft furry ones I knew and adored. A one-humped Wump? A virtually hairless Zed? Zaxes, zooks and sneetches? No siree, bob. Not for me.
Yup, childhood memories are powerful things. Although I grew up to be a reasonably well-adjusted adult, I simply could not overcome my feelings about Dr. Seuss’ books. So, I refused to read them to my children. (Did I just hear a gasp on a global scale?)
Lest you think my children were deprived, think again. The books would end up in our take-home baskets at the library, although I never personally placed them in there. Unlike me, my husband reveled in reading “The Cat in the Hat” and “Green Eggs and Ham” to our girls – over and over and over again. He can still quote passages by heart as can my girls!
I kept my prejudice to myself. An anti-Seuss sentiment just seemed so, well, un-American. I confided in my husband, but no one else knew. But, years have gone by and I have felt the urge to unload this heavy burden. My daughters are big girls now, young women of 16 and 19 years. I think it’s safe to purge. I think we are past the risk of leaving permanent psychological scars on them or impeding their education.
My name is Suzan, and I am a Dr. Seuss book hater.
I guess that means The Cat is out of the bag.
EDITOR’S NOTE: “Dr. Seuss” wrote and illustrated 44 children’s books during his lifetime. His works were turned into numerous TV specials, a Broadway musical and feature-length motion pictures. His honors have included a Pulitzer Prize, a Peabody award, two Academy Awards, two Emmys, and a whimsical sculpture garden was built as a memorial to him in his hometown. Despite my lack of appreciation for his well-loved rhyming schemes and quirky illustrations, his biography is fascinating and his contribution to children’s literature is unquestioned.
- To read more about this children’s literature giant, go to www.catinthehat.org.
- For a Level One Seuss word search puzzle, click here.
- Visit Seussville, a fun, interactive educational site for children.
- For additional reading fun, visit Big Universe, a source of children’s books online.
February and poetry go together like butter and bread. Valentine’s Day poems are especially appealing to elementary children if they are funny and read out loud. Other interactive poetry grabs attention and helps channel pent-up wiggles on these wintry days.
Poetry provides a valid link to literacy. According to Ontario’s Literacy and Numeracy Secretariat website:
- Poetry awakens our senses, helps us make connections to others, and leads us to think in synthesizing ways, as required by the use of metaphor.
- Paying attention to the language and rhythms of poetry helps build oral language skills.
- Children with well-developed oral language skills are more likely to have higher achievement in reading and writing.
Some Valentine’s Day poems to get you started.
I Love You More Than Applesauce
By Jack Prelutsky
I love you more than applesauce,
Than peaches and a plum,
Than chocolate hearts,
And cherry tarts,
And berry bubble-gum.
I love you more than lemonade,
And seven-layer cake,
And candy drops,
And thick vanilla shake.
I love you more than marzipan,
Than marmalade on toast;
For I love pies
Of any size,
But I love you the most.
- Author Unknown
You may not “carrot” all for me
The way I care for you
You may “turnip” your nose
When I plead with you
But if your heart should “beet” with mine
Forever “lettuce” hope
There is no reason in the world
Why we two “cantaloupe.”
- Author Unknown
In February, what shall I do?
I’ll make some valentines for you.
The first will have a cupid’s face;
The second will be trimmed with lace.
The third will have some roses pink;
The fourth will have a verse in ink.
The fifth will have a ribbon bow;
The sixth will glisten like the snow.
The seventh will have some lines I drew;
The eighth, some flowers – just a few.
The ninth will have three little birds;
The tenth will have three little words:
I LOVE YOU!
My Valentine Heart
- Author Unknown
When I say I love you (Point to lips)
It comes from my heart (Hand on heart)
You hear it in your ear (Point to ear)
And it sounds very smart (Point to head)
I love it when you’re proud of me (Stand real tall)
You say it all day long (Stretch arms wide)
And when I hear you say it (Point to ear)
My heart sings a merry song (Hand on heart)
I Made My Dog a Valentine
By Jack Prelutsky
I made my dog a valentine,
she sniffed it very hard,
then chewed on it a little while
and left it in the yard.
I made one for my parakeets,
a pretty paper heart,
they pulled it with their claws and beaks
until it ripped apart.
I made one for my turtle,
all he did was get it wet,
I wonder if a valentine
is wasted on a pet.
If you are looking for additional Valentine’s Day literature ideas, check out this extensive bibliography aimed at the elementary-age child – courtesy of the LRC/Sivia Center in Gainesville, Fla. Other illustrated poems for kids can be found in the poetry section on the children’s picture books website Big Universe.
Big Universe Learning tackles problem eaters with its humorous book 'Edgar, Allan, and Poe, and the Tell-Tale Beets'
Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw said, “Never give a child a book you would not read yourself.” I couldn’t agree more. He also said, “If you cannot get rid of the family skeleton, you may as well make it dance.”… Something tells me he would heartily approve of the children’s book “Edgar, Allan, and Poe, and the Tell-Tale Beets.”
This humorous book written by Natalie Rompella, illustrated by Francois Ruyer and published by Lobster Press is one of those great stories that appeals to kids and adults at the same time. Author and artist deliver graphic descriptions through word and illustration, highlighting the aversion kids have for “yucky food” while winking at literary references – courtesy of Edgar Allan Poe and his dark short story “The Beating of the Tell-tale Heart.”
This modern rendition is clever and funny and makes me smile on so many different levels.
First, Poe was the topic of my senior English term paper in high school. Secondly, while my husband and daughters are generally adventuresome eaters, they DESPISE beets. The few times I have tried to convert them, I was NOT met with the usual warmth or culinary accolades. The three of them most definitely were looking for loose floorboards. Thirdly, I was raised as a member of the “Clean Your Plate Club” and still harbor a grudge somewhere in the back corner of my psyche.
It should have come as no surprise when my daughters pulled a few tricks from their sleeves. They do, after all, come from a long line of food hiders.
Their grandmother threw bread crusts up to the very top shelf of her bedroom closet to keep from having to eat them when she was little. The petrified remains were not discovered until she was grown and long gone from the home. She also tossed milk through a window screen when her parents left the dining room – but she got caught on that one.
I have to admit I used deception to get my desserts, as well. The corner braces up under the edge of the dining room table were a perfect hiding place for balancing things like mushrooms and lima beans. The ol’ baked potato skin had a short-lived crime spree, as well. And so, the circle of life goes on!
Humor is an important catalyst for literacy, so find a funny topic that resonates with your child and have at it! These books keep us parents young at heart, too.
“We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.”
— George Bernard Shaw
“Edgar, Allan, and Poe, and the Tell-Tale Beets” is one of two books offered online for free this week at BigUniverse.com. For more funny stories, click the website’s Read tab, then the Browse by Categories listing and scroll down to Humor.
You may recognize the author, Jon Scieszka, the author of The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales, and The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs! (If you don’t know the two books, stop reading right now and go get them. They are funny, engaging and will appeal to the most hesitant of readers.) What I love about Scieszka’s writing is that it is electrifying. Kids just want to read his books again and again. The Book that Jack Wrote will be a springboard for many educationally valuable activities that can be implemented by parents and teachers alike.
1. Memorization has gone out of favor in some educational circles, but remains a valuable skill for children. The Book that Jack Wrote employs a cumulative pattern that will be famliar to the reader, creating a template for memorization with ease.
2. As children are memorizing, they may be motivated to perform their recitation of the book. Public speaking and vocal performance are both wonderful activities for children.
3. The allegorical references in the book may inspire students to make connections in their reading. The adult may set up the challenge: “As you read, you will find references to characters and events from other stories. See if you can find them all.” Then go back to the original source of the characters and events. Making connections is a valuable reading strategy for all readers to learn.
4. Students may want to create their own “cumulative” stories, either using Jack or another initiating character.
5. Everyone will enjoy discussing the genre of “humor”: what makes Jon Scieszka’s writing so wonderful? You will also enjoy studying closely the illustrations by Daniel Adel.