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Set aside a special place for children to keep their own books.
Summary: Summer in the city is always hot, and today is no exception. So why does Devon want to go someplace where it's even hotter? Because he wants to see the sparks fly when the metal man starts melting metal (junk Mom calls it) into all kinds of things. Today, Devon gets his own surprise ... the metal man wants to know what he would create. What will it be? This is a picture book that is part poem, part story.
Type of Reading: bedtime story, family reading, anytime reading, read aloud book
Recommended Age: read together: 5 to 8; read yourself: 8 to 10
Interest Level: 5 to 9
Reading Level: 2.5
Age of Child: Shared with 7-year-old child.
Young Reader Reaction: "This is awesome, mom." Our daughter loved this book and has asked us to read it several times. The first couple of times through she was quick to point out the "bad words," meaning "poor English." Still, she continues to comment on the story and illustrations and wants to read it again.
Adult Reader Reaction: This book tells a story with a poet's voice. There is an urban, earthy tone to Devon's telling that help kids learn about the process of metalwork, art, and poetry. I especially love the message that there is no one way to see something ... even if it's just a piece of metal. The illustrations - drawn with bold lines and colored in largely browns, blues and gray - add a texture that complements the story.
Pros: Children can enjoy this book that celebrates a young boy's discovery of how imagination becomes art.
Cons: Those who want books to replicate "proper English" may be bothered by the use of ain't or abbreviated endings for verbs (like burnin').
Borrow or Buy: Borrow, at least. This is a beautiful book. The fact that it can be shared as a story as well as a poem adds to its value.
Educational Themes: This book can be shared with different audiences for different purposes. For some audiences, the story about the process of metalworking and Devon's chance to make his own art will be enough. Older children can learn about poetry, art (beauty is in the eye of the beholder), and creativity, as well. It is an excellent example of a poem that is very effective without rhyme.
Notes: Flesch Kincaid reading level 2.5; Guided Reading Level K