Monday, August 3, 2009

Review #38: Abigail Spells

Dad:  Time for another Bookie Woogie review.  And today Elijah is chiming in with us.  Alright, so tell us... what is this book called?
Gracie (age 9):  "Abigail Spells."
Dad:  By...
Lily (age 6):  Anne...  A Letter.
Dad:  A letter?
Lily:  Anne Letter.
Dad:  Try "Anna Alter."
Lily:  This book was about...  um...  how do you spell "Spells"?
Dad:  It's right there on the cover.
Lily:  This book was about S-P-E-L-L-S.
Dad:  About magic?
Isaac (age 10):  No, not that kind of "spells."
Lily:  Aaaaand it was about A-B-I-G-A-I-L.  Abigail.
Dad:  But tell me what happened in the story.
Lily:  S...  H...  um...
Dad:  You don't have to spell the whole review.  Just say it.
Lily:  Um...  S-H stopped spelling.
Dad:  S-H stopped spelling?  You mean "She"?
Lily:  Yes.
Isaac:  S-H-E.
Dad:  Why did she stop spelling?
Lily:  She was...  S...  A...  D.
Dad:  Why was she S-A-D?
Lily:  Because she didn't get to go on to the spelling bee.
Dad:  Who were the characters in this book?
Lily:  S-A-M.
Dad:  Sam?  There was nobody named Sam.  His name was George.
Lily:  G...
Dad:  Although, S-A-M would be a lot easier to spell than "George."
Isaac:  Yeah.
Dad:  Just tell us about the story.  You don't have to keep spelling.
Lily:  George and A...  B...  I...
Dad:  Oh for the love.
Lily:  Abigail.  They are best friends.  They do everything together.
Elijah (age 3):  It is about a bird and spelling.
Gracie:  Abigail loooooves to spell.
Lily:  Spelling is her bestest thing to do.
Isaac:  Favorite thing.
Dad:  We should also point out here, before we go much farther, that Abigail is a bird and George is a bear.
Gracie:  Animals don't talk in real life.  But Abigail can spell.  So that's really weird.
Isaac:  Abigail and - what's the other one?  George?  They did everything together.  George would play the maracas and Abigail would dance.  And she would spell.  They liked to paint portraits.  And Abigail would spell.  Abigail liked to tell George stories.  Stories with spelling in them.  Then one day there's this spelling bee.
Lily:  A spelling bee is a thing where you spell, and if you get the words right, then you win.
Isaac:  When it was Abigail's turn, she got hot in the face and really worried.
Gracie:  Stage fright!
Isaac:  And she spelled "Elephant" wrong.
Gracie:  How DO you spell "Elephant"?
Isaac:  Yeah, and that's not fair.  Someone else got the word "Ship."  "Elephant" is harder than "Ship."  Way harder.  "Ship" is easy.
Lily:  Abigail felt S-A-D.
Isaac:  She got really sad, and she never wanted to do anything.
Elijah:  She didn't spell any more.
Gracie:  Then George tried to cheer her up.  But it didn't work.  And I have a message for George.  George, there is not a "Q" in "Peanut."
Dad:  Do you think George knew that?  Why did he say that in the book?
Isaac:  To cheer her up.
Gracie:  Because he wanted Abigail to spell again.
Dad:  What happened next?
Elijah:  He told her a story.
Lily:  Yeah, so George told Abigail a story, which he has never done before.
Gracie:  A story about a bird and a bear.  And the bird loved to spell.  And the bear loved to see the bird do stuff.  But then the bird stopped spelling and that made the bear sad.
Elijah:  It was that bird and that bear!
Dad:  Right, Buddy!
Lily:  It was a story about them.  And then S-H-E was happy.
Gracie:  You can tell she feels better because she's spelling again.  And then she spelled SO MANY THINGS!
Dad:  What do you think it was about George's story that made Abigail feel better?
Gracie:  It showed her that he looooved her.
Dad:  That he cared about her?
Gracie:  No.  They're in LOVE!
Dad:  I don't think they are in love.
Gracie:  Yeah, they are!
Isaac:  If they got married they would have "Beaird" children.
Dad:  What was your favorite thing about the book?
Elijah:  Pictures.
Gracie:  My favorite thing was the fashion!  All those cool outfits Abigail has.
Dad:  Such as...
Gracie:  Really, really funky socks.
Dad:  What do you call those things she wears on her head?  Do you know?
Isaac:  Bonnet.
Dad:  Kerchief?
Isaac:  Oh, kerchief.
Dad:  No -- I'm asking.  I don't know what they're called.
Gracie: (whispering)  I don't know either.
Dad:  They're not headbands.  Handkerchief?  Kerchief?
Gracie:  Headchief.
Dad:  Then "headchief" it is.
Gracie:  They're bandannas!  It showed a picture of Anna Alter in the back of the book, and she's wearing the same headdress as Abigail, so she and Abigail must dress the same.  Actually everybody in the book has good fashion.
Dad:  Have you ever been nervous before, like Abigail?
Isaac:  Once.  I don't usually get nervous that easily.  But once I was playing in the Awana Games, and I got really nervous.  I was getting worried about if I would do bad in this really long race.
Gracie:  I've never been nervous in my whole life.
Dad:  Are you guys great spellers like Abigail?
Kids:  NOOOO!
Gracie:  I cannot S-P-E-L-L too much.
Dad:  Sorry.  You guys get that from me.  Hey, have your little Spelling Notebooks helped you at all?  Do you know where I got the idea for those notebooks?  I got it from the website Anna Alter set up for "Abigail Spells."
Gracie:  What?
Isaac:  My notebook helps me.
Dad:  Tell everyone about those notebooks.
Isaac:  You take little notebooks...  and you write down words in it...  ones that you might spell wrong...
Gracie:  Oh, what the hoo-ha.  Just go to "Abigail's" site.
Dad:  If there are words you need to write often -- instead of flipping through a whole, big, giant dictionary to check the spelling -- you just put into your notebook the words that you yourself are more likely to need.
Isaac:  Like, my notebook has "Species," "Human," "Circus," "Muscles..."
Gracie:  Hee hee hee hee...
Isaac:  I don't know why I had "Muscles" in here.  "Oceans," "Jail," "Poisonous..."
Gracie:  Here are the words I have in mine:  "People," There," "Their," "Because," "Powerpuff," "Cookie," "Chicken..."
Dad:  Powerpuff?
Isaac:  Chicken?
Gracie:  "Queen," "Butterfly," "Butter," "Fly," "Phone," "Fairy..."
Dad:  Ha ha ha.  So are the words in your two lists similar?
Kids:  Nooo!
Dad:  We can learn a lot about you!  We get to peek inside your brains by looking at the words you've collected in your Spelling Notebooks!  Alright, is there anything else you guys want to say about this book before we sign off?
Gracie:  It is a book of spelling wonderness.
Lily:  And the animals are cute.
Gracie:  Read the B-O-O-K about A-B-I-G-A-I-L   S-P-E-L-L-S.
Elijah:  No!  More!  Spelling!

Abigail and George, by Gracie

cool outfits: what to W-E-A-R?  by Lily

"E-L-E...  psst... what comes next?"  by Isaac

Author/Illustrator: Anna Alter
Published, 2009: Knopf
Like it?  Find it


ElizT said...

Powerpuff wonderness!

Heidi Noel said...

Oh, I wanted to see what Elijah would draw. Spelling notebooks are wonderful ideas. Do you use large or small books?

Z-Kids said...

Thanks for the comments!

I picked up some nice little pocket size notebooks -- with super cool covers so they'd be encouraged to use them. The kids also draw a teeny picture accompanying each word they enter, which is fun to see.

Yeah... sometimes we have these reviews all finished up and set to auto-post weeks in advance. We reviewed this one a while ago, but didn't do the illustrations until late last night after Elijah was already in bed. If he ends up making one, I'll be sure to add it as an update...


Libby Koponen said...

This made me laugh out loud so many times. Dad, whoever you are, you are doing a great job! I wish all books were read by kids like yours with parents like you.

Anna Alter said...

It is an honor to have my book reviewed by such a clever and creative family! Abigail and George send their thanks :)

Boysnberries' Brambles said...

T-H-A-N-K Y-O-U for this wonderful review! We're going to look for this book on our next outing.

MaureenHume said...

Too cute for words. Sounds like a great book with a great message that the kids understood (except for the inlove bit, although a dash of romance is always a good thing).
Maureen Hume