Monday, February 25, 2013

Zoola Palooza A Book of Homographs

I have been very impressed with the number of picture books on the market that focus on teaching English language concepts to children. I like the ones that take the time to teach children and remind parents of the concepts that are being introduced or reinforced in the book. It provides a little teaching aide for both parent and child as they work through the book. For older children using the book as a support to other textbooks, these explanations are often clearer and more easily understood with the supporting illustrations.

In Zoola Palooza: A Book of HomographsGene Barretta gives a wonderful explanation in his notes to the reader about the differences between homographs, homonyms, and homophones.

This book focuses on homographs, pairs of words that share the same spelling, but have both different pronunciations and meanings. The author uses two pairs of homographs per illustration. The examples range from tense changes like read and read to completely different meanings such as bass and bass. I did have an issue that a couple of the pairs were not actual words. I thought this was unfortunate as there were obvious choices that would have provided examples of real homographs.

The illustrations will draw readers young and old to the story. The animal characters are set in humorous situations that will draw readers into the story.

I would suggest getting books of homographs, homonyms, and homophones to familiarize children with these concepts. For older students who still might not know the differences, this is also a great way to teach them. Visual representations can help learners far more than explanations in textbooks.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Language Arts Picture Books

I have been reviewing quite a few picture books over the last year and I am trying to find ways to organize them so I can easily make suggestions when I get questions about books that are good for...

So I have decided to add pages for the Language Arts and Math picture books I've found.

Compound Words:

If You Were a Compound Word (Word Fun)Review here


If You Were a Contraction (Word Fun)Review here

Homonym, Homophone, Homographs:

Dear Deer: A Book of Homophones Review here

The Dove Dove: Funny Homograph RiddlesReview here

If You Were a Homonym or a Homophone (Word Fun)Review here

Zoola Palooza: A Book of HomographsReview here


The King Who Rained Review here

The Sixteen Hand HorseReview here


If You Were a Palindrome (Word Fun)Review here

Too Hot to Hoot: Funny Palindrome RiddlesReview here


Under, Over, by the Clover: What Is a Preposition? (Words Are Categorical)Review here

Similes and Metaphors:

Crazy Like a Fox: A Simile StoryReview here

Skin Like Milk, Hair of Silk: What Are Similes and Metaphors? (Words Are Categorical)Review here

Stubborn as a Mule and Other Silly Similes (Ways to Say It)Review here

Monday, February 18, 2013

Crazy Like a Fox a Simile Story

I am always looking for creative picture books that teach important English concepts and with Crazy Like a Fox: A Simile Story Loreen Leedy has found a delightful way to accomplish the task.

The author begins with a wonderful introduction that explains what similes are and even explains how the overuse of them results in clich├ęs. I thought her explanation was better than some I have seen in children's language texts.

The illustrations are cute, but for an introductory book, I would have stuck with more traditional similes that children would know and be familiar with than creating newer ones. However, it is a good introduction to the topic and would generate enough interest that a parent or teacher could build on this to generate a list of other similes that children could illustrate for their own book.

This book could be used with young children as an introduction to the topic or with older children as a support for a lesson on the subject. I think it is great to get an early start with introducing English concepts to children. I also think it is equally important to provide supports to older elementary students as they are learning these topics. A picture book can enhance a language lesson and provide a fun and meaningful way for learners to connect to a topic that can be dry and hard to connect to for some students. It is also a way to modify a lesson for students with learning challenges. While an English text might not reach a student, a funny story may make this concept easier to understand.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Math Picture and Other Books

I've been reviewing math picture books and decided it would be a good idea to create a list that sorted them so it would be easy to find them and have a reference point when I needed it. I will continue to add titles as I locate them.

Updated April 2018


Mystery Math: A First Book of AlgebraReview here


The Great Divide: A Mathematical Marathon Review here


Great Estimations

Sir Cumference and the Roundabout BattleReview here


Fractions in Disguise: A Math Adventure (Charlesbridge Math Adventures) Review here

Full House: An Invitation to Fractions Review here

If You Were a Fraction (Math Fun)Review here


The Greedy Triangle (Scholastic Bookshelf) Review here

Mummy Math: An Adventure in GeometryReview here

Sir Cumference and the Isle of Immeter (Math Adventures)Review here

Three Pigs, One Wolf, Seven Magic Shapes (level 3) (Scholastic Reader, Math)Review here

What's Your Angle, Pythagoras?


Coordinate Graphing:

Sir Cumference and the Viking's Map (Charlesbridge Math Adventures (Paperback))Review here

Math Concepts:

Equal ShmequalReview here


Inchworm and A HalfReview here

Mixed (has multiple types of math):

Edgar Allan Poe's Pie: Math Puzzlers in Classic PoemsReview here

Math at the Art MuseumReview here

The Lost Key: A Mystery with Whole Numbers (Manga Math Mysteries (Paperback))Review here

The Math Inspectors: Story One - The Case of the Claymore Diamond (Volume 1) Review here


Amanda Bean's Amazing Dream (Marilyn Burns Brainy Day Books)
Review here

Multiplying Menace: The Revenge of Rumpelstiltskin (A Math Adventure)Review here

Place Value:

A Place for Zero (Charlesbridge Math Adventures (Paperback))Review here

Positive & Negative Numbers, Oh My! (Got Math!)Reviewhere

Sir Cumference and All the King's Tens: A Math Adventure Review here


A Very Improbable StoryReview here

Monday, February 11, 2013

Dear Deer A Book of Homophones

I love finding books that teach as well as entertain children. Finding books fun books that engage children in learning about English is a great way to increase understanding of skills that can be dry and dull. My first experience with a book like this was The King Who Rained and it took me years to find a copy of it when I was teaching as it had gone out of print. People looked at me very oddly when I tried to purchase a copy. Thankfully, I was able to borrow library copies to use with my class. It has since been reprinted and is available to buy.

Like the King Who Rained, Dear Deer: A Book of Homophones
uses the humor of illustrations to demonstrate the ideas of homophones. The title of the book comes from a letter written by Aunt Ant to Dear Deer about her adventures of living at a zoo. The book continues with the aunt describing all the wonders she encounters at the zoo. Each page has a pair of homophones paired up. The homophones are in capital letters and bolded to make them easy to identify. The children can then use the illustrations to help them identify the homophones utilized on that page.

While this is a picture book, I would also recommend it for older elementary students who are studying or reviewing homophones. It is a fun way to see the concept illustrated. One activity I loved when I was teaching was to make our own class book and share it with younger students. It was a great way to share learning across the grade levels.

As for my copy of the book, it is headed to one of my family members who homeschools. While it is going to a K aged student, I suspect the older elementary student will also get some value from the fun review of homophones.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Brainy Bird Saves the Day!: Henny Penny Retold is another book in Steck-Vaughn's Point of View Series.

In the classic tale, we find the tale of Henny Penny who comes to believe the sky is falling after being hit on the head with an acorn. She sets off on an adventure to tell the King about the danger. She convinces her friends with her hysteria and they all are tricked into a fox's cave when he offers to show them a short cut to King. This tale has been told for years as a cautionary tale about panic and chaos being created by people coming to the wrong conclusions based on minimal evidence.

The alternate tale is Henny Penny's version of the story. She insists she never thought the sky was falling. She clearly understood she was hit on the head by an acorn. However, do to the increased number of falling acorns she sensed an impending danger to the population and decides that as a reporter it is her job to tell the King. She meets her friends along the way and they join her on her mission. She is not fooled by the fox's trick and she and her friends send the farmer's dog after the fox.

Henny Penny makes a convincing case for herself and against the concept of bird brains not being empty headed.