Gibbs Smith’s Suddenly Alligator & Once There Was a Bull. . . Frog by Rick Walton Book Reviews


I was intrigued with the premise behind the two books by Rick Walton that I reviewed: learning parts of speech through story.  The books did not disappoint for me or for my oldest preschooler.  Not only did we enjoy the tales, but they prompted discussion that was new to my child about parts of speech.  Thus, they provided a very first introduction to formal teaching about grammatical structure in our household.

The illustrations in these books are immediately captivating — large, colorful, and full of expression and humor through pictures.  I’d call them a subjective style drawing — caricatures, really — rendered in an almost a chalk-style art.

In the Once There Was a Bull. . . Frog book, it is immediately clear to the reader through the illustrations the book is meant to be funny.  The words, as well, are obviously intended to be silly as soon as you see the font selection — sort of a kid-like, fun, playful style.  The book cleverly leaves a word dangling at the end of each recto — the right-handed page –and continues the word to make a compound word with the verso — the left-handed page.  The plot is not terribly memorable, but that seems unimportant, as the humorous presentation of the compound word concept shines through.  The book concludes with learning activities that invite a child to interact with compound words.  My 5-year-old enjoyed the activities (though admittedly we skipped the one involving skit creation) and seemed to benefit from them.

In the Suddenly Alligator book, again the illustrations tell us immediately that the book is meant to be about humor.  The font selected is similar, but not the same, as that used in the Once There Was a Bull . . . Frog book, again conveying lightheartedness.  The text is also humorous, and each paragraph ends with an adverb in lime green text, which highlights the intended teaching objective: adverbs.  The adverbs chosen are appropriate to the text, but also seem to be purposefully dramatic and a bit over-the-top to call attention to the adverb usage.  The plot is a bit more developed in this book than the bullfrog one, and is perhaps a bit more memorable.  This book also includes learning activities to reinforce the educational objective of learning about adverbs.  The activities appear fun and doable, though the story writing called for in one of them would be far beyond my preschoolers.  I appreciate that the variety of learning activities appears to be designed to capture children with different learning styles.

I would definitely recommend these books to others, but especially for preschoolers who are already reading with a decent amount of fluency and comprehension, up to about fourth grade.

Connect with Gibbs Smith the publisher of a variety of Rick Walton books, plus many more!

This review was written by Lisa for The Mama Report.


I received the above mentioned product for review purposes, all opinions are my own.

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