Title: Birds of a Feather: A Book of Idioms and Silly Pictures
Illustrator: Vanita Oelschlager
Series: Robin Hegan
Release Date: April 1st 2009
Length: 32 pages
Genre: Children’s Fiction
Publisher: Vanita Books
Children are innately curious about words, especially phrases that make them laugh (“Ants in your pants!”), sound silly (“Barking up the wrong tree” or “Goosebumps”) or trigger images that tickle a child’s sense of the absurd (“Like a bull in a china shop”). Birds of a Feather introduces children to the magic of idioms words that separately have one meaning, but together take on something entirely different. Birds of a Feather introduces idioms with outlandish illustrations of what the words describe literally. The reader then has to guess the “real” meaning of the phrases (which is upside down in the corner of each spread). At the end of the book, the reader is invited to learn more about these figures of speech.
**** My Review ****
Reading to a child from an early age is very important for their development, future academic, and even business success. Research shows that children who are being exposed to reading from an early age develop their cognitive abilities faster, show more interest in the environment, communicate better, learn faster, and this is directly related to their future success. Also, research shows that books greatly contribute to faster and more successful adoption and building of vocabulary in children as well as successful expression.
And yes, it is true that children start the process of language acquisition and learning from birth, but what do we do with more complex language structures? How to bring them closer to children in the most effective way?
The answer to that is hidden in the books like this one, which in a very interesting and witty way opens the world of idioms to children. The beautiful and colorful illustrations will immediately grab the attention of your little ones, while the upside-down explanation greatly forces children to focus and explore the illustration paying closer attention to details, thus providing them with an opportunity to be able to connect the image and the meaning of the words much more easily.
In addition to amazing illustrations and simple explanations, this book offers us the opportunity to encourage our little ones to give their ideas and examples of the use of idioms that are so effectively displayed in this beautiful and sweet picture book. I would have to agree that the portrayal of the police force is a bit offensive, but I would also have to say that children will not perceive it as such.
And to say that the book will be an excellent teaching aid for ESL learners is a simple understatement. The lively illustrations plus the simple, yet effective definitions will be of great value to every child learning English as a second language.
Yes, I am delighted by this engaging and fun storybook, filled with quirky illustrations and commonly used idioms and sayings. I would have to say that it will make an excellent addition to any preschool or family library.
****About the Author****
Vanita Oelschlager is a wife, mother,grandmother, former teacher, current caregiver and, for almost ten years, author and poet.
She was born and raised near Pittsburgh. She is a graduate of Mt. Union College in Alliance, Ohio, where she currently serves as a Trustee.
She has also supported and helped Jim as he built Oak Associates, ltd. into a successful investment management firm.
Today, as an accomplished author, Vanita shares openly the experiences that she, Jim and their families have had with multiple sclerosis. She has likened MS to living with an elephant, one that won’t go away or be ignored. Together, she and Jim have found ways to live with this “elephant”, and to share some of the larger lessons about life they’ve learned through the disease.