Sunday, 21 February 2016

The Worst Day of My Life Ever!





My story about listening and following instructions (...or not!)

Written by Julia Cook. Illustrated by Kelsey De Weerd
Boystown Press 2011
Reviewed copy from my resource shelf at work.


Back of book

There's lots of info on the back cover, here's just a little of it:

RJ has had a rough day...he wakes up with gum stuck in his hair, misses recess because he's late to school, earns a zero on his math homework, kicks the ball into his own team's soccer goal and messes up Mom's kitchen with his overflowing pancake batter! With his mother's help, RJ learns that his problems happen because he doesn't listen or pay attention to directions from her, his school principal, teachers, or even his friends.

This book is the first in the BEST ME I Can Be! series to teach children social skills that can make home life happier and school more successful. Tips for parents and educators on how to reinforce the skills are included.

More from Missus B
Put simply, RJ's day is a series of unfortunate events. He awakens with gum in his hair and things pretty much snow ball from there-he's late for school, gets in trouble for wearing a hat (to hide the gum), messes up his maths sums and creates a pancake disaster in his kitchen. Following each mishap, there's an 'I told you....' comment from either a peer or an adult. After his run of bad luck, RJ decides to confide in his mother  and tell her about the worst day of his life ever. She gives him some sound advice about listening and following instructions and, thankfully, the next day is a whole lot better for RJ!


My younger listeners really enjoy this book and find it easy to relate to the main character and the situations he finds himself in. 

With RJ's dishevelled gum-hair, undone shoe laces and frustrated facial expression,the book's cover-page certainly triggers curiosity.

When I brought this book home to review, my toddler was smitten with it-while it was well beyond his understanding, he seemed to be attracted to the rich, vibrant colours ...spot his little fingers in my photographs :)

The pictures are certainly attractive-chunky characters, strong colours and cute details- like the frustrated faces when RJ scores an own goal.
Love the vivid illustrations  with their  colourful detail...(gum is just, plain sticky- even the 'Sugar Free' kind!)
"RJ, I've told you before, we don't wear hats in school!"
The book gives important messages about listening, following instructions and, in turn, having better interactions with people. It explains how, truly 'listening' involves eye contact and allowing others to speak until they are finished: 

LOOK right at the person 
who is talking to you.

Please DO NOT SPEAK

until she is through.

Show that you've HEARD

what she's trying to say,

by NODDING your head and saying 'OKAY'

I like the rhyming text here- while the book is 'teaching' manners &  important social skills, the rhyming text brings a fun element and invites children to join in with the read-aloud. 

At the beginning of the school/pre-school year, this book opens up discussion about listening skills and social etiquette. There is a strong 'teaching' element within the story and this is reinforced through the story's repetition- RJ takes his Mum's advice, goes to school and experiences the same sequence of events, but uses his listening skills the next time around- resulting in things being much better. 

I like that the book supports children to reflect on behaviour and learn to self-regulate...but at the same time, it's a little unrealistic- RJ manages to wake up and make significant changes all in one day......I think my 'RJ's' would need more than one day to change their behaviour! Having said this, the book is a handy tool when trying to encourage children to listen and follow instructions. 

The text is large and clear for emergent readers and some words are highlighted or enlarged to support a particular point. Partly written in rhyme, it's a fun, easy read.

A tips page at the rear gives some useful advice for parents and educators - ways to improve communication & support active listening.

See some additional pages here at this preview page from BoysTown Press

There's also an activity guide for teachers-I'm including links below.

Happy Reading,
Missus B
   

Additional resources: 
     

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