Friday, October 22, 2010

Dear Deer: A Book of Homophones by Gene Barretta

I picked up this book at the school Book Fair in the spring because I liked the bright colors and the cartoony art. It turns out to have been a fun find for both boys. The story is a goofy, cute picture book. But you can read it to kids, and have them read it themselves at many different levels.

The point of the book is to introduce kids to homophones: words that sound alike but have two different meanings (and sometimes spellings).

Each page has a series of two or three homophones. All together the book tells the story of life in a zoo. The pages include things like

I now live at the zoo. Wait until you HEAR what goes on over HERE.

The homophones are always in capital letters. Through the book they do get more difficult. The first time I read it the boys just listened to the story. By the second time they had started to pick up on the words and the differing meanings. Now if I read it they jump up and down and fight for the chance to explain what the story means and to explain the difference in the definitions between the homophones. It is hysterical watching them try to act out "here" versus "hear."

I have noticed a growing trend lately of "grammar" and "math" picture books. I am of a mixed mind on these. On the one hand, like Dear Deer, they are a good way to introduce kids to difficult concepts. Both of my boys have enjoyed math story books we have found. On the other hand, we cram so much academic at our kids that sometimes a story should just be a story.

A couple of examples
Eats, Shoots, & Leaves (the children's edition)

Anyone else have thoughts on this growing children's sub-genre?

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