My Father Knows the Names of Things

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Overview

My father knows the names of things. . . . And teaches all the names to me.

From each bird that sings, to every kind of cloud, to all of the planets, the father in this story knows the names of them all—and takes the time to impart his knowledge to his child. As they walk together outside, the father points out which mosses are the fuzziest and which insects are the buzziest, which flowers are the tallest and which beetles are the smallest. Jane Yolen's lyrical text is ...

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Overview

My father knows the names of things. . . . And teaches all the names to me.

From each bird that sings, to every kind of cloud, to all of the planets, the father in this story knows the names of them all—and takes the time to impart his knowledge to his child. As they walk together outside, the father points out which mosses are the fuzziest and which insects are the buzziest, which flowers are the tallest and which beetles are the smallest. Jane Yolen's lyrical text is complemented by Stephane Jorisch's soft artwork, a pairing that is touching without being overly sentimental, which makes this the perfect choice for fathers and children to share.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
While cheerful, this book is also a memorial to Yolen's late husband. Freely drawn by Jorisch in pen and watercolor, an effortlessly confident father guides his mop-headed child through a series of adventures. On an amusement ride, he points out astrological marvels, and their travels often center on the natural world (“He knows which mosses are the fuzziest,/ He knows which insects are the buzziest”). Yolen's easeful rhymes and Jorisch's warm illustrations craft a bighearted tribute to fathers' seemingly infinite capacities for information—and their willingness to share it. Ages 4-8. (Apr.)
Children's Literature - Mary Quattlebaum
This delightful tribute to dads recognizes the importance of fathers as guides in their children's lives. Clearly proud of his dad and his many skills, the young narrator states that his father knows the names of "each bird that sings, their nicknames, too" as well as the fuzziest mosses, the buzziest insects, the tallest flowers, and the meanest dinosaurs. Master poet Jane Yolen has crafted a rhythmical paean to the father-child bond, which is graced by Stephan Jorisch's lively watercolors. Especially engaging are Jorisch's plump cats, yip-happy pooches and busy bugs. The book ends tenderly with the child tucked into bed and a sense of a legacy passed on: "[Dad] points out everything we see/And teaches all the names to me." Reviewer: Mary Quattlebaum
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 1—This paean to fatherhood is not really a story but rather a list of all of the things the narrator's father knows, ending with, "He points out everything we see/And teaches all the names to me." It is simply a poetic love song and as such could be very effective. Unfortunately, the rhyme scheme is occasionally uneven. While lines like "My father knows the names of things,/Each different sort of bell that rings," work fine, they are followed by "And stones,/And knows the names of planets,/Stars,/And even human bones." The mixed-media illustrations, however, are wonderful. The boy and his dad exude love and companionship as they paint walls, study bugs, and fly in fanciful airplanes together. The pictures are full of movement and whimsy, and the final scene shows the child in bed in a darkened room, dreaming, with his father looking in on him. The paintings are detailed and varied and do an impressive job of depicting the imagery in Yolen's poem.—Amy Lilien-Harper, The Ferguson Library, Stamford, CT
Kirkus Reviews
"My father knows the names of things, / Each bird that sings, / Their nicknames, too, // He knows the names of dogs / And cheese // And seven words that all mean blue." In this easy, graceful verse, a child celebrates his father's expertise. Not only does dad know "a dozen...words for night," he knows about soaps, dinosaurs, bugs and flowers. It's a sweetly clever look at the phase in childhood when the parent is still omnipotent; as such, it's uniquely disarming in a season full of lockstep rhyming couplets and unmitigated gush. Jorisch's loose, whimsical watercolors makes clear the gentle, confident command that the father exerts on the child's world. There is time enough for kids to learn their parents have feet of clay-this breath of fresh air is just right until then. (Picture book. 2-5)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781416948957
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
  • Publication date: 4/27/2010
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Lexile: 320L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 9.10 (w) x 11.10 (h) x 0.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Jane Yolen

Jane Yolen is an award-winning author who has written more than 200 books for children, including the bestseller How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight? and the 1988 Caldecott Medal winner Owl Moon. She is known for her beautiful poetry and has even been called “the Hans Christian Anderson of America” (Newsweek). Jane Yolen lives in Hatfield, Massachusetts. Visit her at JaneYolen.com.

Stephane Jorisch has illustrated a number of picture books, including Suki's Kimono by Chieri Uegaki; I Remember Miss Perry by Pat Brisson; The Real Story of Stone Soup by Ying Chang Compestine; and Footwork: The Story of Fred and Adele Astaire by Roxane Orgill, which received a starred review in Publishers Weekly.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 14 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 14 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 16, 2010

    cute book

    This book is alot of fun. I bought it for my grandchildren ages 10-1 yr. (all 9 of them.) It would be a great book for Father's day because it shows a great father - son relationship. It flows well and is by one of my favorite authors. I love Jane Yolen's other books. My grandchildren all enjoyed it...especially when their dad's read it to them. I only wish that she would have included all the different names for 'blue' because I can only think of five. The illustrations are colorful and so cute. The book is also a good length for young children, and the older ones could even read it to the younger ones.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 7, 2013

    This is truly a beautiful book.  It tells the story of what a fa

    This is truly a beautiful book.  It tells the story of what a father does, which is, among many things, to teach.  Ms. Nolan so beautiful illustrates with her words (and with the humerous pictures of Ms. Jorisch) how much fathers give to their children just in the course of spending time with them.  This is a wonderful book for parents to read to their children!

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  • Posted January 13, 2013

    I bought this book nearly four years ago for our first Father's

    I bought this book nearly four years ago for our first Father's Day. To be honest, it didn't "catch" with me immediately, but  has since become a favorite! At first, it seemed the flow was a bit off, but it smoothed out by the dozenth repetition. We like to add sounds to many of the paqes, for example each bird/dog/fish sounds a little different, we sing the word "blue" in scale and add tickle stings for the bitey bugs. It can be a very interactive book that kids can really get into. And of course, it is a great display of father/child bonds.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 8, 2011

    Great Father's Day Book

    I bought this for my son-in-law as he and my daughter expect their first child and my first grandchild! I thought the illustrations were bright and the story fun for kids and adults too.

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