About the Holiday
I must confess that today’s holiday is one of my favorites. Even as a kid I howled at the unintentional ridiculousness misplaced punctuation and poor editing created and absolutely loved diagramming sentences (I know, right?!). While the rules of grammar in any language may sometimes seem confusing and unnecessary, they help structure the language so what you write and say makes sense and exactly states your meaning. National Grammar Day was established in 2008 by author Martha Brockenbrough, the founder of the Society for the Promotion of Good Grammar.
Little White Fish Is So Happy
By Guido Van Genechten
Little White Fish has been swimming on his own, but is so happy that his “mom is coming to get him.” Before he leaves, however, he wants to say “goodbye” to his many friends. “Bye-bye, snail in the shell,” he burbles. The “frog on the rock” also receives a happy “goodbye.” Little seahorse is playing under a leaf, but Little White Fish spies him.
Crab waves from behind a stone as Little White Fish swims by, and goldfish smiles at him from his spot “between the reeds.” As Little White Fish sends his friends a final farewell, they all stand “next to each other” to see him off. The best part of going home for Little White Fish, though, may be getting to swim “in front of” his mom!
In Little White Fish Is So Happy, young grammarians are introduced to a few of the most common prepositions, with clear visuals to reinforce their meaning. Bold type prompts adult readers to emphasize the prepositions and to expand on the idea by pointing out how the words apply to each particular sea creature. The endearing relationship among these friends will charm young children as the idea of being away from home is presented in an upbeat way that encourages independence while also reassuring little ones of parents’ love and attention.
Well Done, Little White Fish
By Guido Van Genechten
Little White Fish is visiting his friends. First up is crab who is “can cut sea grass with his claws.” This is a pretty cool talent, and Little White Fish wonders what he can do. Turtle is strong enough to carry a rock on his shell, and “sea urchin easily does seven somersaults in a row. And Little White Fish? What can he do?”
Wow! Little jellyfish “can light up the dark.” Little White Fish is astonished; he knows he can’t do that. Starfish is like a ballet dancer when she stands on one leg. “Little White Fish doesn’t even have legs….” Little White Fish knows he must watch out for Octopus when he spits out ink, and he likes playing over and under with sea snake when he makes “a beautiful arch.”
And Little White Fish? He “can swim really well, even backwards and upside down!” Now it’s time for his friends to be amazed, and as Little White Fish swims around his group of friends, they all cheer and applaud his special talent.
Well Done, Little White Fish explores individuality as the small fish watches each of his friends demonstrate their talents. At first everyone seems to be cleverer, stronger, and more agile than he is, but when Little White Fish displays his swimming skills, he learns that he too is unique. Bold text points out each creature’s special ability and can also serve as a gentle lesson about verbs. Van Genechten’s adorable sea creatures, with their ready smiles and buoyant enthusiasm, will delight young children as they learn facts about nature while embracing these characters.
Guido Van Genechten’s Little White Fish books, including Little White Fish, Little White Fish Has a Party, and Little White Fish Has Many Friends, make a sweet series for the youngest readers. The spare text is lively and cheerful and makes use of the type of repetition that little ones respond to. The bold, multicolored and multilayered illustrations set on a black background are eye-catching. Small children will love the smiling sea creatures and the playful relationship among the friends.
Ages 2 – 5
Clavis Publishing, 2017
Little White Fish Is So Happy | ISBN 978-1605373263
Well Done, Little White Fish | ISBN 978-1605373270
Grammar Day Activity
Active Words Playtime
It can be fun to teach grammar by playing! Prepositions such as up, down, under, in, on, through, over, and out can provide opportunities for active fun inside or outside. A playground is a perfect place to demonstrate prepositions to kids while they climb, slide, crawl, and swing on the equipment.
Inside, all you might need is a large box or a homemade pillow fort to build your child’s vocabulary. Kids will love jumping up, crouching down, getting in the box or fort, getting out of the box or fort. Pillows or an open-ended box make a great tunnel to crawl through. You and your child can even make up a story to go along with the actions.
That old perennial favorite Simon Says is another great way to play with grammar, so get creative…and enjoy grammar!
Picture Book Review