Saturday, May 19, 2007

The Boy Who Loved Words

by Roni Schotter; illustrated by Giselle Potter

My Kindergartner chose this book for me to read to his class last week--an unusual selection from one whose life's ambition is to pitch for a major league baseball team.

Selig is a boy who lives about a generation ago, in New York. He collects words the way some of us might collect baseball cards. He stuffs them into his pockets, savors their taste when he pronounces them, and eventually wonders what to do with them, and what to be. Other children tease him and call him an oddball. Name-calling is a huge faux pas in Kindergarten these days, and the students were vocally dismayed by this plot twist. I had to stop the story and reassure the children that the story really does have a happy ending despite the name-calling. In fact, Selig gives himself a new name during the story, as he becomes a sort of muse for eloquence.

The charming, folk-arty illustrations were well-received by my young critics, but reading to a group makes it hard to appreciate the words floating on scraps of paper through the scenery.

There is a list at the end of the book of Selig's exotic words and their definitions.

I think this book would be great for a slightly older independent reader--maybe 7 and up, or a younger child who loves words.

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