Richio's Picks: E-MERGENCY!
- Richio's Picks: E-MERGENCY! by Tom Lichtenheld and Ezra Fields- Meyer, Chronicle, October 2011, 40p., ISBN: 978-0-8118-7898-2"'Why isn't E even crying?' [asks the letter Y, who is always asking questions]"'Sometimes she's a silent E.'" [responds the well-rounded letter O, who is going to get mighty busy in a minute]Third, fourth, and fifth graders love to engage in word play involving double meanings. They are learning to pick up on puns and they are gobbling up joke books. Nowadays, so many of these same kids are also becoming computer literate and are encountering and employing all sorts of texting abbreviations. (I recently read an article about how learning to use these abbreviations can actually enhance spelling ability.)They also love poring over books that are filled with visual details. Hanging out in a school library with middle grade kids given free time, it is easy to see what made Jean Marzollo and Walter Wick's I SPY books and Joan Steiner's LOOK-ALIKES books such an enduring phenomenon.Each time I read through E-MERGENCY, the story of the letter E falling down the stairs and -- while recuperating -- needing to be temporarily replaced by the letter O ("That's right. Starting right NOW it's O instead of E. That's it, PORIOD."), I keep zeroing in on more and more fun details and word plays that punctuate this high-action letter drama. For example, among the happenings on one page, there is the letter X on the stairs, pointing out to everyone where E tripped. (Get it? X marks the spot.) One of the scenes on a following page is of four letters calling out to the EMT staff, "'Andiamo', 'Speed it up!', 'Vigorously!', 'Pronto!" Which four letters? It's A, S, V (doing a hand stand impersonation of an A), and P. Get it? ASAP.The streaming digital news display outside of Mol's Dinor says it all: "IMPORTANT LOTTER HURT!! 'O' DOOS DOUBLO DUTY!" (The back endpages contain a graphic showing each letter's frequency of use in the English language from most to least frequent. Guess who is Number One on the chart?)This is such a fun and goofy tale. It involves a R-O-A-D T-W-I-P, a mystery about E's failure to recuperate quickly (thanks, we find out, to the narrator's negligence) and, at the conclusion, a house party to celebrate E's return.And, in between, the need to replace every E with an O yiolds scoros of tonguo-tanglod mayhom.Chock it out!Richio Partington, MLIS
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