FICTION

Big Words Small Stories: Smell the Daisies

Kids Can Pr. (Big Words Small Stories). Oct. 2019. 52p. Tr $12.99. ISBN 9781771387903.
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Gr 1-3–Henderson takes a clever approach to introducing children to new vocabulary. In each series title, two friends have five adventures and they encounter the Sprinkle Fairy and her helpers, the Sprinklers, and learn a new term. The Spinklers pop up enthusiastically to signal the arrival of a big word. In this installment, Oleander, a black girl with pigtails, and Sally Mander, her blue salamander, go in search of breakfast, visit a diner, learn about muscles and competition, plant daisies, and take tea with the Queen. The adventures are silly; they play off the fact that Oleander likes to keep busy while Sally Mander would prefer to take it easy. Readers learn the following words: regurgitate, attire, flabbergasted, procrastinating, and peccadillo. The words are embedded in the stories, but are random at best, varying in their common usage and in their sophistication. The definitions are succinct, but the definition for regurgitate (to burp up something that was swallowed) isn’t quite complete. At the conclusion, the Sprinklers put on a short skit in which all of the words are used again. The illustrations are simple and look like comic book panels without the boxes; each page has three horizontal spaces with plenty of surrounding white space.
VERDICT A playful but strictly additional way to introduce children to new words.

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