Thursday, March 13, 2014

Shelf Life [kids]

The Very Inappropriate Word, by Jim Tobin, 34 pages.
Michael loved words. He found them fascinating, so he collected words just as someone else might collect jokes or marbles.
Michael found words in many places: on signs, in books, on television, at baseball practice and at school. His favourites were little words that meant big things (such as “vast”) and big words that meant little things (eg. “smithereens”). 
At night, he would take his words home and put them in a big box under his bed.
One morning on the school bus, Michael heard a brand new word … a very interesting word. What was also interesting was the shocked reaction of his older sister when he repeated it to her. “Michael! That is a very inappropriate word!” 
Michael hid the word in his pocket.
However, the next day at school he couldn’t resist taking out the word and sharing it with his friends. Suddenly the very inappropriate word seemed to be everywhere! It was in the classroom, in the school and on the playground … and each time it was repeated, it sounded even more inappropriate!
The sensible approach taken with “the word” by Michael’s teacher concludes this amusing, instructive story in a very satisfactory way.
** Recommended for ages 4 to 7 years. 

He’s Been a Monster all Day!  by Denise Brennan-Nelson, 32 pages.
“I wonder why Mommy / Thinks that of ME? / I guess if she does, / Then a MONSTER I’LL BE!” 
Having overheard his parents talking, the little boy with the impish smile in this picture book can’t understand how his mother could possibly consider him a “monster”.  (The fact that he has just wreaked a path of mess and destruction throughout the house would be a clue!)
Feeling rather hurt, the boy decides that he really will be a monster! And that’s just what he does – in his imagination. He scowls and growls to scare other people; he takes monster mud baths instead of soapy baths; he eats spiders and salamander tails, and he refuses to go to bed at night or use any people manners at all.
Gradually the little boy realizes that he’s no longer having fun on his monster romp … no one wants to play with someone who acts so rudely.
Missing his mom and feeling very lonely, he abandons his monstrous manners and hopes that “Maybe by now / Mommy forgot.”
This engaging, reassuring story is told in rhyming text and carries a message of unconditional parental love.
Both picture books (He’s Been a Monster All Day and The Very Inappropriate Word) present timely opportunities for discussing inappropriate behavior with young children.  

** Recommended for ages 3 to 5 years.

This review appeared in the Stratford Gazette on March 13, 2014. Written by Sally Hengeveld, Librarian. 

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