CM . . . . Volume XIX Number 9 . . . . November 2, 2012
In Reading: Children's Developing Knowledge of Words (Mason, et al, 2003), the research of Maclean, Bryant, and Bradley (1987) is quoted highlighting that knowledge of nursery rhymes at age three was strongly related to early reading performance. Crabtree's publication of Humpty Dumpty and Humpty Dumpty at Sea, by Brian Moses and illustrated by Jan Lewis, reminds us of the importance of rhyme, taps into our childhood, and reignites our fondness for this genre.
This classic rhyme allows children to hear how words can sound alike. The simple verses capture the flow, fluency and cadence of this genre, as most nursery rhymes are rhythmical by design. The traditional verse is included in this publication which most readers may be familiar with: "Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall; Humpty Dumpty had a great fall"; however, the adapted version uses the same pattern, but Humpty falls off a rock instead: "Humpty Dumpty fell off a rock. Humpty Dumpty had a great shock. All the queen's captains and all the queen's crew...." Perhaps readers can guess the ending of this version using the pattern provided.
Other details to highlight include the font style and text size easy to read and see the language/word patterns. Also, the illustrations are great - cartoony, yet warm with detail. Children will enjoy that the illustrations have the same flavour of some recent movie hits.
The only disappointment I have with this book is with the game at the end "Puzzle Time: Which of the things on this page would you take to the beach?" The question asked seems rather random although I'm sure the author's intent was to carry the "sea setting" into a game. However, a rhyming game would have been more appropriate.
Finally, the last page is titled, "Notes for Adults", and it provides suggestions for how to read this book with a child; have fun, recite aloud, identify rhyming words and reread are a few ideas that are mentioned.
Exposing children to language patterns, rhyme, and classic stories builds their background knowledge at an early age and sets critical, foundational literacy anchors for more stable literacy growth.
Carrie Subtelny is a consultant, reading clinician and literacy advocate in Winnipeg, MB.
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