March 5, 2010

Words are CATegorical by Brian P. Cleary

We have found a great series of books for learning the parts of speech. My kids are loving them because the illustrations are hilarious and the rhyming text is silly. Each book focuses on a particular part of speech. It gives the definition and then starts giving examples of it. The text is black, but the particular type of word they are focusing on is in color, thus helping the child figure out which word is an adjective or a verb or whatever.

The last two pages of each book has a large picture and asks the child to find their own example of what they just learned about. Even my 3-yr-old has been able to find examples! One of my 9-yr-olds has some language processing issues and these books have really helped solidify the concepts in his mind. He has easily, and with confidence, found examples in each book.

When asked which book they want to start the school day with, they have been choosing one of Cleary's books. That says something! I also find them looking through and/or reading the books to themselves throughout the day.

Thus far we have read Hairy, Scary, Ordinary: What is an Adjective?, A Mink, a Fink, a Skating Rink: What is a Noun?, To Root, to Toot, to Parachute: What is a Verb?, and Dearly, Nearly, Insincerely: What is an Adverb? We can't wait to go to the library Monday to get a few more.

My kids are also learning a fair amount of vocabulary as we read these. "Mom, what's a fink? What's a mink? What does puce mean?" Yeah for extra learning!  We typically do Mad Libs a few times a week to help put our "parts of speech skills" to good use.

I'm slowly trying to collect the series (he also has some math books I'm trying to get my hands on). If Mr. Cleary would like to donate the whole set to my family, he'd be my new BFF (and really, who doesn't want to be my BFF).   Mr. Cleary??????


  1. Oh these sound great, thanks for posting.

  2. Thanks for the review, these look fantastic! So many books, so little budget and so few bookshelves!

  3. These look really interesting.
    I'm always asking our librarian about stocking items, so I may just ask about these too! :)

  4. Thanks for the kind words!

    Brian P. Cleary