Friday, January 18, 2008

Words are meant to be fun!

Words are meant to be fun. Sure, most people use them to communicate, but think about certain words in the English language: squelch, thimble, gallon. Their sounds alone can induce giggles if pondered long enough.

By that reasoning, sentences should be chock full of silliness because you can bounce words and sounds off each other and make syllables and rhymes roll off your tongue and tickle your eardrums.

Here are six picture books and a short chapter book that are a hoot to read aloud in storytime or at home, books that take advantage of the creative possibilities of language:

(Caution: practice is highly recommended to avoid tongue twisting!)

The Piggy in the Puddle, Charlotte Pomerantz, ill. James Marshall; Macmillan, 1974.
A posh family of pigs is finally convinced to join baby pig in a mud puddle. “See her dawdle, see her diddle in the muddy, muddy middle. See her waddle, plump and little, in the very merry middle.” And illustrations by the great James Marshall, to boot!

Frank was a Monster who Wanted to Dance, Keith Graves; Chronicle Books, 1999.
Awesomely gross tale of a monster that literally falls apart dancing. “Frank shook his shoulders and strutted his stuff. The audience screamed. They couldn’t get enough.”

Sheep on a Ship, Nancy Shaw, ill. Margot Apple; Houghton Mifflin Company, 1989.
A band of pirate sheep brave rough waters and finally makes it ashore. “They chop a mast to make a raft. Sheep jump off their sailing craft.” Wonderful vocabulary! In those two sentences alone, kids get to hear and see “chop”, “mast”, “raft”, “sailing” and “craft”.

Ugh! A Bug, Mary Bono; Walker & Company, 2002.
Yes, bugs are everywhere but they’re mostly pretty cool. “Would you welcome a wandering worm to your garden? What if her wriggling relatives come?” Good message about respect for living things, as well.

Fox in Socks, Dr. Seuss; Random House, 1965.
A fox challenges a friend to a series of impossibly difficult tongue twisters. “When beetles battle beetles in a puddle paddle battle and the beetle battle puddle is a puddle in a bottle…” Funniest when an adult tries in vain to read the rhymes, invariably causing listening children to collapse in hysterics.

Double Trouble in Walla Walla, Andrew Clements, ill. Salvatore Murdocca; Millbrook Press, 1997.
Chaos breaks out in (surprise!) a schoolroom, Clements' favorite setting, when a girl inadvertently opens a “word warp”. “If we’re not very, very hush-hush about this, there could be a mongo-mongo brain-drain, and everybody in Walla Walla will be talking like a herky-jerky ding-a-ling.”

Mokie & Bik, Wendy Orr, ill. Jonathan Bean; Henry Holt and Company, 2007.
In this Young Reader masterpiece, siblings live on a docked boat and wait for their fisherman father to return from sea. “They monkeyed off the roof to the slippery wet deck, slip slide slippering in soggy socks, skate chase racing up to Bullfrog’s bow – Mokie was bigger but Bik was faster – and Bik balanced on his sliptoes at the very front point.” This would make an amazing readaloud for your 2nd to 4th Grade kids!

All of these books are part of The New York Public Library’s circulating collection. Check ‘em out!


Tony t said...

Warren, you are so right on! Words are the best. Who doesn't like short and sharp words like "bright" and "drip"...or odd words like "boondoggle" and "fantastical." Pairing the sounds with the words make it all the more sparkilicious! ohyeah, for words!
Tony Tallent

Cheif Knockahoma said...

welcome back WT!

p.s.- you left out "Who put the bomp in the bomp-a-bomp-a-bomp
Who put the ram in the ram-a-lam-a-ding-dong
Who put the bop in the bop-she-bop-she-bop
Who put the dip in the dip-de-dip-de-dip"

Warren Truitt said...

it's good to be back, chief.

yep, what better to back up one's theories of literacy than good ol' rock & roll! thanks should go to Goffin & Mann for the song you referenced, and let's not forget the Marcels' crazyass version of Rogers & Hart's Blue Moon, or the Edsels' Rama Lama Ding Dong, written by George Jones, Jr.

say hey to the '83 braves for me.

Kids Music said...

I'm glad to have visited your blog and good to know you! I find it interesting and informative.

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