13 Words
  • 13 Words
  • 13 Words

13 Words

3.3 9
by Lemony Snicket, Maira Kalman
     
 

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13 Words:

1. Bird
2. Despondent
3. Cake
4. Dog
5. Busy
6. Convertible
7. Goat
8. Hat
9. Haberdashery
10. Scarlet
11. Baby
12. Panache
13. Mezzo-Soprano

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Overview

13 Words:

1. Bird
2. Despondent
3. Cake
4. Dog
5. Busy
6. Convertible
7. Goat
8. Hat
9. Haberdashery
10. Scarlet
11. Baby
12. Panache
13. Mezzo-Soprano

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Based on an unlucky number of key words and authored by someone who takes pleasure in unfortunate events, this volume conjures a sense of foreboding. "Word Number 1: Bird" introduces the central character, and the accompanying illustration pictures a royal-blue bird perched on a linen tablecloth, in a yellow-and-pink dining room that might have been painted by Matisse. The bird's eye droops sadly, whereupon readers turn to "Word Number 2: Despondent" and "Word Number 3: Cake," an item that might alleviate a bird's ennui, at least temporarily. Despite ominous beginnings, the proceedings turn upbeat with the arrival of a chic "Word Number 4: Dog," who concocts witty diversions for the gloomy bird. Kalman's eccentric gouaches elevate the wintry mood; the dog, with his sly grin, resembles Kalman's Max, particularly when he tries on hats at "Word Number 9: Haberdashery." Sprinkled with additional vocab words like "spiffy" and featuring surreal landscapes in ice-cream hues, this word-association game recalls Kalman's solo productions. The conclusion, however, belongs to Snicket, because "the bird, to tell you the truth, is still a little despondent." All ages. (Oct.)
Children's Literature - Heidi Hauser Green
Readers young enough for picture books are unlikely to know Lemony Snicket from Daniel Handler's "A Series of Unfortunate Events," so the use of that penname for this volume is vaguely perplexing. Still, perhaps it will serve as a warning to parents who have older children in addition to picture bookreaders that this is likely to be (at least) slightly gloomy and a bit unusual. Surely, librarians will know to expect something out of the ordinary from this author. Namely, they should expect a story that includes words outside the typical elementary lexicon, such as "haberdashery," "panache," "mezzo-soprano," and "despondent." They should also expect an imaginative animal tale that breaks the mold and includes some odd characters, such as a bird, a dog, a gigantic baby, and a goat. Readers are advised singing the last pages of the book in their best faux-operatic voice will result in maximum fun. (Many children will join in.) Reviewer: Heidi Hauser Green
Kirkus Reviews

"WORD NUMBER 1: Bird. / The bird sits on the table." A modest start, perhaps, but the gorgeous, Matisse-like, gelato-colored spread drips in mystery. The table legs, for example, are sprouting leaves. "WORD NUMBER 2: Despondent." Poor bird. She's now standing atop Mushy Peas, next to a Kafka book. Happily, she finds cake, which is WORD NUMBER 3. The story--and it is actually a winsome story of friendship--proceeds thus, with a Snicketian 13 words in all, including 4) dog (who wants to cheer up his feathered friend, probably with a hat); 5) busy; 6) convertible; 7) goat; 8) hat; 9) haberdashery; 10) scarlet; 11) baby; 12) panache; and 13) mezzo-soprano. Snicket and Kalman are perfectly matched here, both revelers in life's delicious (mmm... cake) details and things best left unexplained... such as why the bird has to paint 11 ladders in ten colors, why the scarlet-doored haberdashery's owner is a baby and why the bird never stops feeling despondent, despite her new hat that has so very much panache. This charming chef-d'oeuvre sings like a mezzo-soprano. (Picture book. 3-10)

ALA Booklist
“A book that pushes boundaries and demands such active participation on the part of both readers and listeners to connect language and images (and Kalman’s quirky artwork is a perfect fit, littered with fun details) is to be commended.”
Time Out New York Kids
“13 Words is a winning combination of Lemony Snicket’s wry narrative tone and Maira Kalman’s droll pictures.”
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2—The 13 words that are the basis for this sophisticated picture book are "bird," "despondent," "cake," "dog," "busy," "convertible," "goat," "hat," "haberdashery," "scarlet," "baby," "panache," and "mezzo-soprano." Each word is listed at the top of the page spread where it is featured, and the story continues on. The despondent bird lives with the dog and the mezzo-soprano. The dog, in an effort to cheer up his friend, goes for a ride with the goat to the haberdashery to pick up a hat for the bird. Upon returning home with the gift, the dog tells the mezzo-soprano about their day, and she commences to sing out the plot of the book. While not standard picture-book fare, there are moments of silliness (the owner of the haberdashery is a baby) and joy (all kinds of cake). The artwork is trademark Kalman: playful, colorful, and filled with surprises. Best for one-on-one reading, 13 Words could also be used as a model for primary-grade children to write their own stories featuring a list of seemingly unrelated words.—Stacy Dillon, LREI, New York City

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780061664656
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
10/05/2010
Pages:
40
Sales rank:
628,098
Product dimensions:
8.60(w) x 11.00(h) x 0.40(d)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

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