Friday, July 16, 2010

The Handiest Things in the World

This post is a bit late as I am going to write about end of the year teacher gifts, but Emmy and I really love this book by Andrew Clements and wanted to be sure and share it with our readers!

The gift of a book is always appreciated and when it came time to give end of the year gifts to Emmy's teachers, we knew just the books to give. The book, The Handiest Things in the World, was given to Emmy's teacher with an inscription thanking her for helping Emmy learn to write her name using her hands. We included a tracing of Emmy's hands with the inscription. To Emmy's assistant teacher, we gave the book, Look! Look! Look! since she borrowed this book from us when the children were learning about Matisse. To read our post about this clever book click here.

The Handiest Things in the World is such an insightful book. It is full of photographs of children using their hands to do all sorts of things from eating, digging, catching insects and walking a dog. Each spread shows a child using her hands to complete a task and on the opposite page a tool that can assist the hands such as eating with your fingers and using chopsticks. "Mealtime happens every day. Keep your fingers clean this way."

The final image is of two children holding hands reinforcing the fact that no matter what new devices are created, the hands remain indispensable. "For sharing love with tenderness...the hand itself is handiest."

Here are my favorite hands - capable of so many things. My favorite thing that these hands can do is hug their Mommy!

Before I end this post, I wanted to be sure to tell a bit about the author Andrew Clements. In my second grade classroom, we ended each day cozy on the floor with our reading lamp lit and me reading a chapter from a book. Clements first book titled
Frindle was always a favorite. This book, about a boy who made up a new word, turned Clements from an editorial director into a full time author. I love this piece of advice that Clements offers to young writers:

"Sometimes kids ask how I've been able to write so many books. The answer is simple: one word at a time. Which is a good lesson, I think. You don't have to do everything at once. You don't have to know how every story is going to end. You just have to take that next step, look for that next idea, write that next word. And growing up, it's the same way. We just have to go to that next class, read that next chapter, help that next person. You simply have to do that next good thing,and, before you know it, you're living a good life."

The next book, by Andrew Clements, that I am going to introduce to Emmy is Big Al. This is a brilliant book about a friendly fish who just wants to make a friend, but his large and scary looking appearance makes this extremely difficult for him. With a heroic act that shows his strength, courage and bravery, Big Al makes a sea full of friends.

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