Humor & Nonsense
|Classifying children's literature can be confusing because
it contains different organizational formats. The following
is our interpretation, and we hope it will be of assistance
on your journey through children's books.
|PICTURE & STORY BOOKS
For younger children these books are usually thirty-two pages
in length, and can be read aloud in one session. Illustrations
should be on every page, because while adults are reading the
words, children are reading the pictures. For older children,
there is still a need for beautiful illustrations and they should
be in every book, whether large or small.
WORDLESS & NEARLY WORDLESS BOOKS
Stories that are told by the illustrations and not the words fall in
this category. The illustrations are arranged in sequence and read
through the pictures. This encourages logical thinking as children and
adults are required to tell the story in their own words. This skill is
the basic ingredient in reading comprehension - finding the meaning
underneath the words. The more complex wordless books demand closer
attention and examination, interpreting details in order to understand
what is happening.
RHYMING, RIDDLE & CONTROLLED VOCABULARY BOOKS
Language patterns, meter, rhythm and repetition are found in these books.
They usually appeal more to feelings rather than reason. For young children,
the repetitious rhythm of a nursery rhyme is fairly nonsensical, but they
hear the shape and feel of the words. Children become accustomed to words in
unfamiliar arrangements and to the cadence of the meter.
Alphabet, counting and labeling books as well as those that deal with the
abstract ideas of color, time, space, and size relationships are found in
this category. They range from simple to complex. Information may be given
in story form or offered in a straightforward manner with pictures used to
illustrate the various points being made.
SHORT STORY & CHAPTER BOOKS
The concepts of beginning, middle, and ending are taught in these books. Short
stories usually center around a single incident. Because of its shorter length,
the characters and situations are fewer and less complicated than in novels.
These books can be either longer picture books or stories stretched out over
several chapters that require longer periods of reading.
Usually less detailed than novels, short novels still require a series
of reading sessions. They should teach children character, courage, and integrity.
FULL LENGTH NOVELS
Generally, over one hundred pages in length, novels require more imagination from
the listener and reader because of the longer, descriptive passages.
ANTHOLOGIES & COLLECTIONS
These books are multiple story collections linked through a theme or an author.
Numerous good illustrations are very important.
|FOLK LITERATURE (Traditional Literature)
Folk literature has existed for thousands of years, handed
down from generation to generation. Most folk literature consists
of stories in the form of fairy tales, fables, folktales, legends,
and myths. However, they can also include proverbs, riddles, songs,
superstitions, holidays, and religious celebrations.
FOLKTALES - Folktales deal with the customs and beliefs of people that take place in the
real world and are told as true stories. They are about animals or human beings and are
full of fantasy and magic.
FABLES - Fables are short stories told with animals and usually contain a moral or lesson.
Most of the characters are animals and objects that talk and act like human beings. They
remain popular because they illustrate truths that almost anyone can recognize.
FAIRY TALES - Fairy tales occur in some imaginary land and are told as fiction. They speak
to the heart and soul of a child because they appeal to a child's courage and confidence
by offering hope. Fairy tales always end happily, wickedness is punished, and virtue is rewarded.
MYTHS - Myths are historical stories that deal with the supernatural traditions and beliefs
of people. They differ from most types of folk stories because they are considered true among
the people who developed them.
LEGENDS - Legends are stories that revolve around a person who may or may not have lived. Like
myths, legends are told as true stories but they are set in the real world.
These books introduce children to the lives of important men and women. Through
biographies, children can learn about people who have made great discoveries, changed the
course of history, made contributions to the arts, or accomplished unusual deeds of courage
or daring. A skillful biographer can make the life of a real person as exciting as the life
of a fictional hero or heroine. Most authors base their biographies on fact. However, they
often invent incidents or dialogue to make the stories more dramatic and lively especially
for younger children.
Children deserve the best of all literature, including nonfiction, if presented
in imaginative and exciting ways. Children are naturally curious about everything. Give them
access to good nonfiction books with real life places and things to help satisfy their curiosity.
INFORMATION BOOKS - Information books and books of knowledge introduce children to the world
of learning about the wonders of science, the beauty of art, and the fascination of history.
CONCEPT BOOKS - When concepts are learned in an enjoyable way, children are more successful in
their reading and writing attempts, as they grow older. These books should be selected as much
for their lovely illustrations as they are for any other reasons associated with learning
letters and numbers.
Poetry has a kind of musical quality that captures a child's attention. Traditional
nursery rhymes are usually the first written words many children hear. They are filled with
humor, action, entertaining incidents, and musical language. They help children learn the days
of the week, the months of the year, the alphabet, and how to count. Children who have outgrown
nursery rhymes can find delight in many humorous poems. One type of verse that appeals to
children is nonsense verse because it deals with illogical and silly characters and situations.
It is through poetry that children experience the shape and feel of the words as well as the
beauty of the language. Make it light, fun, and loaded with plenty of nonsense and exaggeration.
Expose children to its richness throughout their young years in order for them to develop a love
of the language.
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