Jim Tobin, Author
Dave Coverly, Illustrator
Henry Holt and Company, Fiction, Aug. 20, 2013
Suitable for Ages: 5-8
Themes: Vocabulary, Swearing, School, Communication Skills
Opening: “Michael collected words. He found lots of words on signs and a few on TV. He picked up new words at practice and downtown and even in school, where Mrs. Dixon gave the kids one new spelling word every day.”
Book Jacket Synopsis: Michael loved collecting words: BIG words like SMITHEREENS, LITTLE words like VAST, and FAST words like DRAGSTER. Then one day, he picked up a new word. A BAD word. An INAPPROPRIATE word. At least that’s what his sister said. But Michael kind of liked the word and thought he might try it out. At school. Bad idea.
Why I like this book: Jim Tobin has written a very clever and humorous book that encourages children to learn and use new vocabulary. This book is a brilliant collaboration between Tobin and illustrator Dave Coverly. Coverly’s cartoon-like illustrations are engaging, lively and fun. Although Tobin focuses on helping children recognize and refrain from using inappropriate or bad words, I imagine kids will want to share the bad words they’ve heard. This is clearly shown in the book as Michael shares the bad word with the other students and they pass the word along. This means trouble for Michael, but the punishment is perfect for the indiscretion. The book is one that parents and teachers can use to discuss inappropriate words that kids hear at school and in public. Make sure you check out the inside and back pages of the book as they are an entertaining explosion of words and expressive drawings. This book is very well presented from beginning to end.
Resources: This is a book that teachers and parents can use to find fun ways to engage children in vocabulary building as well as addressing the subject of using inappropriate words in a non-preachy manner. The book is a resource in its own and will give teachers many ideas.
Every Friday, authors and KidLit bloggers post a favorite picture book. To see a complete listing of all the Perfect Picture Books with resources, please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Books.