The B on Your Thumb
The B on Your Thumb: 60 Poems to Boost Reading and Spelling
Tor Freeman, illus. Colette Hiller. London: Frances Lincoln Children’s Books, hb, 978 0 7112 5460 2, 2020, 18.58, 80pp.
Poetry, illustrated book, education, 4-7 years
A fun way to help 4-7-year-olds learn to read and spell.
A preface ‘How to use this book’ has notes for the adult and child.
The illustrations are colourful and those of the animated letters will make children laugh and possibly try their own. The people are strangely proportioned but I don’t suppose a child will find that off-putting.
The sections are headed ‘Sounds’, ‘Silent letter and secrets’, ‘Spellings’, and ‘Words that sound the same’. Under each heading is a short introductory rhyme, e.g. Under ‘Sounds’:
Some letters sound as they are meant to.
Other letters change.
They sometimes make surprising noises.
English can be strange.
There is a jack in the box with the letters P and H popping out with an fffff!-cloud joining them.
The first poem is ‘A Sh in your Shoes’, with the first verse:
There once was an S
who usually went sss…
Along came an H.
Together they went shhh…
‘Silent Letters and Secrets’ includes the title poem:
For the B that you see
right there on your thumb
is not the stinging kind!
‘The Magical E!’ in the ‘Spellings’ section:
See how she turns
a kit to a kite
a tap to a tape.
‘Words that Sound’ tackles ‘Two, Too and To’, ‘Which Witch?’ and similar:
Dear, oh dear!
Is it here or hear?
At the end of the book ‘Getting the most out of the rhymes’ is addressed to both the adult and the child and has activities and ideas for them to work on together. I thought some a bit too ‘school’. However, others such as ‘Be a magician’ and ‘Hand clapping a rhyme’ are fun. It might be possible to use these ideas in a class situation but difficult unless the pages can be projected so that the subtle changes of font can be seen clearly.
A brilliant idea, carry out successfully. Highly recommend.
Review by JJH