**Humorous picture book about homophones for preschoolers through third graders (although adults will learn something here!)
**Dear deer and Aunt Ant as main characters
**Rating: I think a book like this is the type of material we should use to teach children, teenagers, and adults the English conventions. Gene Barretta’s book is funny and meaningful and easier to remember than rules or even memorization. Dear Deer should be in MANY classrooms, if not all!
Short, short summary: In the beginning of the book, Aunt Ant is writing a letter to deer to let her know what’s going on around the zoo. You would never believe all the silliness that goes on at the zoo: a moose who eats mousse, a ewe who has been in a daze for days, and my favorite: “a doe kneaded the dough because she needed the dough.” (Hey, there’s a homonym in that last one, too!) In the end the deer writes back to the ant about the hare with no hair. This isn’t so much of a story as a way to introduce and visualize homophones, but it is very well done!
So what do I do with this book?
1. Make a list of the homophones in the book, let children choose one pair, and make their own illustration to go with it. They can make up a sentence, too, if they would like.
2. This is an important book to discuss with students and make sure they understand the illustrations and sentences. They may laugh or giggle because they like the illustrations, but do they understand why the horse is hoarse or what a ewe is? You can read the book through once, and then you can reread and allow students to explain it to each other, too.
3. In the beginning of the book, the author, Gene Barretta, explains the difference between a homonym and a homophone. Besides the ones listed in the book, can children think of any other examples of either one of these types of words and use them in a sentence properly? You can also discuss with them which would be more difficult for people to learn or are they both difficult in their own way? AGAIN perfect book for a discussion to go with the 6 +1 traits of writing, the trait of CONVENTIONS!
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