This is a very old (think five years old) blog post draft I just discovered. I thought I’d share it since it’s sitting lonely in my drafts. I wrote this when I was teaching a second grade class.
In a reading a book to my students, we’ve talked about play on words. Second graders don’t get a lot of jokes, but they got this one. We are reading The Night they stole the Alphabet by Sesyle Joslin. (My mom gave the book to me many, many years ago. I just looked it up on Amazon and it’s value is almost $200 dollars! It is rather like Alice in Wonderland or the Phantom Tollbooth, but a bit boring at times for my 7 and 8 year old students, but in changing voices and adding actions and discussions to the reading-aloud, we’ve made the book fun.)
One delightful part is where the heroine, Victoria has a cup of tea, and in the cup is the a golden letter “T”.
My students loved the letter reference and difference in meaning from the word Tea and the letter “T”.
Later in the day of reading chapter on the cup of “T”, one of my students, S-, brought me a pretend cup with a cut out letter “T” for me. I suppose that’s a simple random event, but for me it was proof that reading to kids is beneficial. Kids understand a lot more than we think they do. Or other times they will enjoy the simplest things about a book.
Quick plot: Victoria is in bed “sleeping” and she has a wall in her nursery that is covered in the alphabet… She “wakes up” and realises that there are shadows and voices in her room. The shadows (three figures with whispered voices, top hats and coat tails) are taking the letters off of her wall. She isn’t happy about this, so she follows them as they leave her room. She finds herself in a new world and has to gather all her strength against an evil Queen/Witch who has stolen the letters in attempts to eliminate all letters. Victoria spends the rest of the book travelling all over this strange world gathering up the stolen letters that were scattered everywhere and dodging the evil Queen. Victoria makes some interesting friends along the way, like the merfish, a dear lady with the head of a fish and the legs of a girl. Somewhere at the end of the story Victoria manages to gather up all the letters and return home safely. She awakens from her sleep and wonders if it was all a dream.
Sorry if I just spoiled the plot for you. If you can find it, I think this book has a lot of value in talking about words, letters and play on words and other literary devices.
I would label the book as fantasy and I know a lot of families are steering clear of fantasy or careful of their choices. Just know there are some “magical elements” in the story and those may lead to good discussions with your little people.
Wishing you a wonderful day, hopefully to spend some of it reading.