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THE VOWEL FAMILY: A TALE OF LOST LETTERS

Author: Sally M. Walker

Illustrator: Kevin Luthardt

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Publisher: Carolrhoda Books, a Division of Lerner Publishing Group,

Material: hard cover

Summary: Pm Smth and Sm Vwl knew something was missing in their family. When Alan and Ellen were born, it began to make sense. They could at least begin to understand each other. Then Otto went missing and things got very confusing. It took Aunt Cyndy's skills as a police officer (and a reader) to figure it out. This picture book story uses the absence of vowels to show how they work in words.

Type of Reading: anytime reading, family reading, read aloud book

Recommended Age: read together: 4 to 10; read yourself: 8 to 12

Interest Level: 4 to 8

Reading Level: 3.2

Age of Child: Read with child who is almost 7 years old.

Young Reader Reaction: About a third of the way through the book, she asked us to stop. She got very frustrated trying to listen and follow along. Our daughter loves to read and loves playing with words, so her reaction was a bit of a surprise.

Adult Reader Reaction: Dad was happy to close the book; he didn't like it at all. Although he got the point, he found the reading incredibly tedious. Mom likes the story and took her turn at reading it, but she too eventually tired of all the wordplay and having to explain what the words were meant to be not only in the text, but within the illustrations, too.

Pros: Kids who enjoy word play will laugh at this story about what happens when words are missing vowels.

Cons: You will need patience and a sense of humor to work through the book. The focus on trying to read the "words" and having to explain that the Vowel family member has to be on the page to make the words work takes away from the value of the story.

Borrow or Buy: Borrow. This is an enjoyable, humorous story. There are great spelling and vocabulary moments, but the presentation may leave some frustrated.

If You Liked This Book, Try: ABADABA ALPHABET; LEARNING LETTER SOUNDS   DO YOU KNOW THE WAY TO FIND AN A?   ALPHA-PETS; A to Z

Educational Themes: Use this book to talk about how language works. Make it fun by using the absence of vowels to create code. The author has a great set of consonant sequences in the front cover and invites you to create as many words as you can.

Notes: Flesch Kincaid reading level 3.2

Literary Categories: Fiction - picture book, literacy, humor

Date(s) Reviewed: September 2008

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