Friday, November 28, 2008

Book review: And Then Mama Said...It Takes Time to Learn to Read

Slow and steady wins the race. Anyone who has read the Aesop fable of the Tortoise and the Hare has heard this before. It's a good lesson to learn and one that can be applied to many a situation in life. Gena Suarez's latest book, And Then Mama Said...It Takes Time to Learn to Read, stresses the importance of patiently plodding on to reach a goal.

The story follows a young frog named Splish who is rather discouraged because he does not know how to read. His older brother, Sam, knows how to read. His younger sister, Susi, knows how to read. His assorted animal friends know how to read--in fact, reading seems to come so easy to them. Why can't he learn? Page after page Mama Frog calmly encourages Splish to be patient, keep trying, and remember that someday the letters will make sense. While following Splish along his journey to reading, you'll also learn a bit about the animal world. A vocabulary list at the end of the book briefly explains such concepts as camouflage, hibernation, and metamorphosis. With purchase of the physical book you will also receive a link for an activity E-book. This 36-page book includes copywork, coloring pages, and an alphabet maze starring Splish and his family and friends. Also included are copywork and fill-in-the-blank diagrams about their real counterparts in the natural world. Learn about frogs, raccoons, ants, turtles, and bees.

My final verdict: It's a good story and would be especially encouraging for a youngster who happens to be struggling with reading. There are many important messages conveyed, for both child and parent: to nurture a love for learning, to have patience while waiting for change and to work hard to achieve that change, to understand that people have different abilities and learn at different paces, and to encourage obedience in children to their parents. The illustrations were not my favorite, but my 5-year-old enjoyed them. Also, the provided ruled space for copywork is a bit too small for a Kindergartner. Overall, though, it's a wonderful book because of the multiple, worthy messages for the discouraged, struggling reader and parents. Splish is available from The Old Schoolhouse Store, and $9.95 buys you the 23-page softbound book autographed by the author and made out personally to the recipient, the 36-page companion activity E-book, and FREE shipping! Great deal--would make a great personalized gift!

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