23 July 2010

You're Full of Baloney

Isaac is developing quite a quirky sense of humor and an appreciation for the absurd. Matt and I actively encourage his odd tastes and try to introduce him to books, movies, shows and music that are outside the mainstream.

One author who fits perfectly into Isaac's growing literary tastes is Jon Scieszka. Scieszka has re-told fairy tales, written poetry for children and has an early-reader chapter book series. He also has a website and has developed a program to encourage boys to read.

Matt's favorite Scieszka book is The Stinky Cheese Man. My favorite is Baloney (Henry P.). Henry P. is an alien and a habitually tardy student. When he has been late to school for one too many times, he spins a tale for his teacher that confuses and impresses and gets him out of his punishment. Henry P. is clever, lovable and completely absurd.

What I really love about this book is Scieszka's playful use of language. Throughout the story, Henry P. uses what seem to be nonsense words to represent normal, everyday items. In fact, the words he substitutes are the names of the items in foreign languages, such as aamu (morning in Finnish) and twrf (noise in Welsh) and zimulus (pencil in Latvian). The effect is hysterical, fun to read, and educational. I learned after reading this book that uyarak is the Inuktitut word for stone. Who knew?

I admire Scieszka's efforts to promote reading to boys and I like his books for their creative wordplay. Isaac likes Scieszka's absurd characters and his boy-centric topics. We both like to read his books and laugh.

1 comment:

  1. I love love love The True Story of the Three Little Pigs. I think it's a great one to do with older students to talk about point of view and encourage them to think about stories from other perspectives.