Thursday, October 14, 2010

Thursday at the Library

Splat the Cat by Rob Scotton

Splat is a silly little cat who, as you can tell by the cover, is getting ready to go off to school.  He's pretty nervous about it at first and the rest of the story is just as predictable as all the other "going off to school for the first time" children's stories...he finds out school is not so bad after all! 

Wish we'd had this one last year when my youngest was having so much trouble adjusting to kindergarten.

What I loved best about this story is the illustrations.  Each page is like a separate canvas...the entire page is filled with the illustration...there is no frame, etc...just Splat doing his best to jump out at you...the colors are vibrant as well...and here at my house, we just dang love cats.

The story is a simple one without a lot of added words so another things that works in this story for us is that my youngest can actually read aloud a lot of the words.  It's not too simplistic; I actually enjoyed it as well...but it didn't take her forever to dig through either.

This is a cute one...there are other Splat books out there and we plan on reading more.

Fancy Nancy, The 100th Day of School by Jane O'Connor

Oh that Nancy!  What a vocab!!  Seriously folks, if you haven't experienced a Nancy book, get ready to learn a new word or two.  Nancy narrates the stories in this series and uses words from a thesaurus (fantastic or incredible) in place of everyday words (good, great).  She uses the larger word in sentences here and there throughout the story and then explains each new word in parentheses as the "fancy" way to say something.

I have to admit that when I first read one of the Fancy Nancy stories I wasn't all that impressed...I'm not a fan of vocab lists and this series felt a little like a list.  However, in the beginning readers I think the stories are actually a little better so the vocabulary is introduced within pretty deep context, making it a more meaningful vocabulary experience. 

I have promised over and over that this is not an academic blog...and it's still not...
Are you ready?

Vocabulary is only truly learned when it is made relavent and the learner can incorporate that word within his/her own repertoire.  Only when a learner can actually USE a new word in an authentic setting does he/she truly OWN that word.  Ownership of vocabulary comes after many experiences with the word...never too early to introduce them, I say, just as long as the words are introduced within memorable context.  

Whew! Glad I got that off my chest! 

Bring on the vocab, Fancy Nancy!!

Sam, Bangs & Moonshine by Evaline Ness

Oh my...
This one brings back childhood memories for me.

Sam is a young girl who lives in a fishing town with her fisherman father and a cat named Bangs.  Sam has a tendency of stretching the truth...her father calls it "moonshine" and warns her that "moonshine" can cause problems if she's not careful.

Sam's friend and Bangs do indeed find themselves in trouble because of Sam's tall tales...and Sam learns a difficult lesson even though everything works out for the best in the end.

This is obviously a moral Aesop's fable of sorts...but an Award winner also.  The story is rich with description of their surroundings and the storm that brings on the rushing water...this is not one that my youngest could read on her own, yet she was riveted to my side and the story as I read.  I had actually worried a little when we pulled it off the shelf that there would be too many words on each page and she would lose her patience.
I should have remembered my own reaction to the story.

This one is a keeper...if not for the quality of the literature itself and the watercolor illustrations, then for the memories of worrying about Bangs the cat being swept away by the rising water...

oh yeah, and the little boy too ;)


  1. We have a kindergartner this year named Nancy. Her parents are from Vietnam so they'd most likely never heard of the book. That poor little thing rarely just gets called "Nancy". The kids feel compelled to put "Fancy" in front of it.

  2. Oh my goodness! Poor Thing! I know how she feels bc I spent a lifetime trying to shake the whole Peppermint thing...finally decided to just embrace it :)