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Posted May 19, 2001
Everybody Passes . . . and Learns Thinking and Reading, Too!
This book clearly deserves more than five stars, and is one of the very best Dr. Seuss books for beginning readers. The only thing that's missing are the rhymes! 'Here is Ziggy Zozzfozzel with his sister Zizzy.' 'They got every question wrong. Are YOU smarter than a Zozzfozzel?' Aw, if school had only been full of challenges like that, everyone would have focused on learning instead of grades. Some may object that by setting the standard low, accomplishment is stilted. I think it is enhanced, because children will want to get as many more right as they can versus the Zozzfozzels. By the way, although this is a book of quiz questions (nicely feeding into the mania of shows like Who Wants To Be a Millionaire?), this is the teacher's edition. The answers can be found on pages 58-62. Let me begin by praising this book as a beginning reader. Each item is well illustrated so that a child can associate the words with the images. There is a lot of variety in short words (only a few words are long, like the nonsensical name, Zozzfozzel). So a youngster can learn more words from this book than from 2 or 3 of most beginning readers. That makes the book more valuable. Also, the context of asking questions makes the words and images more vivid and memorable, which should speed memorization and learning. Your child can clearly grow into this book over a period of time. The book has mostly pre-school words, but it also has words up to about 2nd grade level. What just bowls me over about this book is the discipline in the quiz questions. First, there are lots of them. So for most children, you will take just a few at one sitting. You could probably work on this book for a week or more the first time you go through it, doing a little bit every day. By the time you pick any page up again, it will seem fresh. Second, the questions test a variety of thinking methods. Mostly the quizzes fall into these categories: Common sense -- Are freckles catching? Spatial puzzles -- gears, ropes, and mazes to study Observing -- Do eyebrows or mustaches grow faster? Word meaning -- How many kings are women? Nature facts -- Which ends of a bee does the stinging? Games -- On a tic tac toe board, who will win? What If? -- Imagine that you jump up in the air and don't come down. What should you do? As you can see, these kinds of questions are perfect for using a few Socratic questions to help guide the youngster down a thinking path that can lead to a correct answer. This means you have a chance to help your child with problem-solving strategies. You can also introduce learning resources (like pictures of a bee in a book) as ways to locate a correct answer. Further, you will get a sense of where your child takes to things like a duck to water . . . and where it is harder for her or him. Then you can spend more time on those trickier areas to boost skill and confidence. Although the questions hardly make the book into a Mensa qualifying test (for high IQ people), many of them are interesting enough to keep the adults alert. Also, there is a lot of potential for more than one correct answer (especially with the 'what if' questions). This provides a chance to exercise imagination and to expose ambiguity. After you have exhausted and worn out this quiz, you can go on to create new quiz questions for one another. I suggest that you keep it a competition against getting them all wrong, rather than indirectly setting up any other kind of comparison. Now, where do pineapples come from (besides the grocery store)? Donald Mitchell, co-author of The 2,000 Percent Solution and The Irresistible Growth Enterprise
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Posted November 20, 2000
Top Notch Book
I remember reading this book many times when I was younger. It was entertaining each time I read it, despite what the critics might say. I absolutely loved this book.
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Posted August 4, 2000
Loads of fun, very engaging
A prior review mentioned that it's only fun the first-time around. That couldn't be more wrong. Anyone familiar with kids' books knows that kids enjoy the repetition, the feeling that they're really learning the characters and material.<p> This book offers not only the ever-lovable Dr. Seuss style, but also the ability to truly engage children who get to guess (and, during later readings, show off their knowledge) from beginning to end.<p> A really great book; kids love it!
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