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Hairy, Scary, Ordinary
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About the Author

Brian P. Cleary is the author of the Words Are CATegorical(R), Math Is CATegorical(R), Food Is CATegorical(TM), and Animal Groups Are CATegorical(TM) series, as well as several picture books. He lives in Cleveland, Ohio. Jenya was born in St. Petersburg, Russia, and lived most of her childhood and teen years in Kishinev, Moldavia (former U.S.S.R.). At age seven Jenya entered the Children's Art Study Group. Three years later she was admitted to Schusev Children's Art School where she concentrated on fine arts. After graduating from Schusev Children's Art School and high school, she continued her art education at Repin College of Arts in Kishinev where she studied fine arts, illustration and graphic design. After coming to the U.S., she received a certificate in Computer Graphics from the School of Communication Arts in Minneapolis, a certificate in Web Design from the Center for Digital Imaging Arts at Boston University, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Graphic Design from the University of Minnesota. For over 10 years Jenya has worked as an interactive/graphic designer and children's book illustrator. She is the artistic creator of the Words Are CATegorical series for Lerner Publishing Group of Minneapolis. The series' name took after the cat characters Jenya had introduced to the books. She is the illustrator of the first three titles in the series that continue to stay on Lerner Publishing Group's best seller list since 1999 and can be found in book stores around the world. The titles are: A Mink, a Fink, a Skating Rink: What Is a Noun?, Hairy, Scary, Ordinary: What Is an Adjective?, and To Root, to Toot, to Parachute: What Is a Verb?. Her recent work includes The Wedding That Saved a Town for Kar-Ben Publishing of Minneapolis. Jenya resides in Boston with her husband, Olivier, two daughters, Eugenie and Alexandra, and two cats, Ferruccio and Marcello.

Reviews

Gr 2-4-Descriptive words of many kinds are presented in bouncy, rhyming text: "They're colorful, like mauve and puce,/They help explain, like lean and loose,/Baggy, saggy, stretchy, strong,/Much too short or way too long." The text bounces, too, with the words printed in wavy lines and unevenly sized letters. The adjectives are colorfully highlighted and readers will see their function demonstrated in a wide variety of contexts. Little round cats and quirky humans, both with fat noses and wide eyes, humorously illustrate the meanings. The book will probably be used most often to enliven grammar lessons, and is a companion to A Mink, a Fink, a Skating Rink: What Is a Noun? (Carolrhoda, 1999). Unfortunately, the illustrations are too small for group use. While Ruth Heller's Many Luscious Lollipops (Grosset & Dunlap, 1989) is still hard to beat on the subject, Hairy, Scary, Ordinary is a lighthearted, multifaceted illustration of the importance of adjectives in our language.-Adele Greenlee, Bethel College, St. Paul, MN Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.

"Conventions, the sixth trait of writing, deals with the rules of writing. Rules exist for a reason, but without personal experience, students may find them arbitrary. After all, in earlier times invented spelling was the norm. (Just look at the writings of the founders of our country or westward bound pioneers.)

For this mini-lesson, ask students to write several sentences and then make them into 'a secret code' by ignoring the conventions. The first step is to write sentences that follow the rules on an index card. (This is the solution to the secret code.) Students can use books in the classroom or library to find examples.

Now to ignore the rules, ask students to write those words again without any spaces or punctuation. It will look like a string of letters on the page, written in all lowercase or all capital letters. This will remove any clues about where each sentence begins. To make the secret code even more difficult, ask students to misspell words by leaving out the vowels or silent letters. After students have their secret codes ready, they can write them on another index card and place it in a centrally located box, along with the card that has the solution to their secret code. (Ask students to write their initials on the back of both cards so that others can check the solution.) As students read the cards through the week, they can try to crack each other's secret codes.

. . .

Missing Letters

In The Vowel Family by Sally M. Walker, the story is missing its vowels until each new 'child' (Alan, Ellen, and so on) is born into the family. In Silent Letters Loud and Clear by Robin Pulver, Mr. Wright's class finds out what happens when they stop using silent letters.

Parts of Speech

The fast, fun, and rhythmical Words Are CATegorical series by Brian P. Cleary has a book for each part of speech, including Hairy, Scary, Ordinary and I and You and Don't Forget Who."
--Booklist Online

--Other Print

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