WORK: An Occupational ABC

Author and Illustrator Kellen Hatanaka

My mother-in-law sent me this BigWords book. It is fabulous! Each letter of the alphabet is associated with a career. These are not your everyday teachers and firefighters. “WORK” gives kids images of unusual occupations: Horticulturist, Naval Architect, and Xenologist. Where else in children’s literature will you find Xenologist?! The illustrations are simple, graphic representations incorporating letters as career props. Kids love finding and labeling surprise actions and characters while learning about unusual job options.  Parents enjoy bringing new words and employment opportunities to kids. Everyone giggles at the punny Want Ads listed at the back of the book.  This is a great one for every bookshelf.

Big Words:

Aviator
Cyclist
Detective
Explorer
Forest Ranger
Grocer
Horticulturist
Vendor
Lumberjack
Mountaineer
Architect
Oceanographer
Umpire
Vibraphonist
Xenologist
Yogi

Insectlopedia

Author and Illustrator Douglas Florian
We are weevils.
We are evil.
We’ve aggrieved
Since time primeval.

Our whiny, evil voices chorus this verse from Florian’s ‘The Weevils’ every time a weevil is spotted or mentioned. It sticks with us as only poetry can. 

As read-alouders, we can maximize poem power by playing with voices, emphasizing rhythm and rhyme, rise and fall, and inviting our listeners to echo or chant along.  Rhyming is a vital skill for pre-readers. Immersing kids in frequent songs and books filled with poetry prepares a foundation for pattern recognition.

insectlopedia (published as lower-case ‘i’), is our family’s favorite Florian.  I wonder if the author shares our love of insects, as his poems and watercolors on paper bags seem especially creative here. In addition to using vocabulary to keep parents on tiptoes, Florian feeds us insect facts and word-play: words-within-words, homonyms, and shape poetry to appeal to visual memory for new words.

Big Words:

pupa
demon
behold
enormous
terrorize
seize
mere
stroll
thickets
wend
religiously
dainty
venom
denim
mammoth
disguise
ward
aggrieved
primeval
bore
boll
gore
ruinous
medieval
weevil
evil
walkingstick
disappearing
pulpy
lunge
plunge
lurch
lope
monarch
migrations
wince
duke
lug
termites
immense
defense
superior
underground
shields
droughts
guarantees
architectural
design
suits
locusts
swarm
disappear
gigantic
romantic
artistic
majestic
magnetic
aesthetic
strictly
parasitic