A Mink, a Fink, a Skating Rink: What Is a Noun?

A Mink, a Fink, a Skating Rink: What Is a Noun?

by Brian P. Cleary, Jenya Prosmitsky

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Rhyming text and illustrations of comical cats present numerous examples of nouns, from "gown" and "crown" to "boat," "coat," and "clown."


Rhyming text and illustrations of comical cats present numerous examples of nouns, from "gown" and "crown" to "boat," "coat," and "clown."

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
While this book may appear to be little more than a list of nouns, the witty zeal it brings to the task of enumeration makes this basic concept seem like plenty. Cleary indulges his fondness for wordplay (evident from such previous titles as Give Me Bach My Schubert) in the humorous, wide-ranging subjects that show up in the text, its cadences reminiscent of jump-rope songs: "If it's a train, or brain, or frown,/ It's elementary--it's a noun"; "London, Levis, Pekinese--/ Proper nouns name all of these." Colored type highlights the nouns within the verse, which winds around the pictures in a bouncy typeface. For her first children's book, Prosmitsky introduces a cast of goofy-looking cartoon cats with round bodies and giant, flaccid noses. The challenge of illustrating such a random list results in gleeful, nearly nonsensical scenes: the two images for the lines "The pope, some soap that's on a rope,/ A downtown mall, a downhill slope" show a small black cat, rigid with fear, getting soaped up beside a portrait of the pope on the shower wall juxtaposed with a snowscape of cats and their bags sliding down a slope after shopping. Certainly one of the least serious grammar lessons imaginable, this book will convince kids that nouns are everywhere. Ages 7-9. (Sept.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature - Children's Literature
Lively rhyming verse displayed on brilliantly colored pages gives new life to the lowly noun. Bright pencil drawings loaded with examples of people, places, and things attract attention while the nouns pop out in purple, blue and green fonts. Diverting, fast-paced, and a little frenetic, the purpose of the book never falters--to teach children aged four to twelve to recognize nouns. This message is hammered home effectively through repetition and demonstration on each page. The last double spread shows a scene where the reader must name examples of nouns and there are many! Part of the "Words are Categorical" series, this should be fun to pick up and will slyly inform and teach. 1999, Carolrhoda Books, Ages 9 to 12, $12.95. Reviewer: Martha Shaw—Children's Literature
Library Journal
Gr 2-4-Using a combination of humorous rhymes and silly illustrations, Cleary attempts to define nouns. He adheres to the traditional definition, stating, "If it's a person,/place, or thing-/Your dad, Detroit,/a diamond ring,/If it's a boat or coat or clown,/It's simple, Simon,/it's a noun!" Nouns are highlighted in color throughout the text, making it easy for readers to identify them. The rhyming sentences are short and breezy, though some sound awkward: "The pope,/some soap/that's on a rope,/A downtown mall,/a downhill slope." While proper nouns are mentioned, possessives, plurals, and compound nouns are not. The bright illustrations appear to be rendered in colored pencils and crayons, providing both detail and humor. A variety of comical-looking cats are depicted on backgrounds splashed with sea blues, lime greens, and lovely lavenders. Libraries looking to build up their 400s section could consider this introductory title, but Ruth Heller's Merry-Go-Round: A Book about Nouns (Grosset & Dunlap, 1990) is a stronger choice.-Lisa Gangemi Krapp, Rockville Centre Public Library, NY Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A Mink, A Fink, A Skating Rink (32 pp.; Sept. 7; 1-57505-42-7): This book appropriately abounds with persons, animals, places, and things, while rhymes drop broad hints about using nouns: "Nouns can sometimes be quite proper like Brooklyn Bridge or Edward Hopper," but also "A pocket, button, sleeve, or cuff—A noun can simply be your stuff." Cleary leaves explanations of when and why some nouns are capitalized to the textbooks. Prosmitsky's funny illustrations of tubby cats link some disparate nouns and make them memorable, while a picaresque feline scene on a final two-page spread allows readers to pick out nouns on their own. (Picture book. 7-9)

Product Details

Lerner Publishing Group
Publication date:
Words Are Categorical Series
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
7.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.40(d)
Age Range:
7 - 11 Years

Meet the Author

Brian P. Cleary is the creator of the best-selling Words Are CATegorical™ series, now a 13-volume set with more than 2 million copies in print. He is also the author of the Math Is CATegorical™ series and the single titles Rainbow Soup: Adventures in Poetry, Rhyme and PUNishment: Adventures in Wordplay, Eight Wild Nights: A Family Hanukkah Tale, Peanut Butter and Jellyfishes: A Very Silly Alphabet Book and The Laugh Stand: Adventures in Humor. Mr. Cleary lives in Cleveland, Ohio.

JJenya Prosmitsky was born in Leningrad and grew up in Kishinev in the former U.S.S.R. She studied at Schusev Children's Art School and later at Repin College of Arts. After coming to the U.S., she graduated with a B.S. in Graphic Design from the University of Minnesota. She is the illustrator of A Mink, A Fink, A Skating Rink: What is a Noun?, Hairy, Scary, Ordinary, and To Root, To Toot, To Parachute (Lerner) and The Wedding That Saved a Town. She lives in Boston.

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