03 February 2010 ~ 0 Comments

The One and Only Sam by Aileen Stalker

As an adult, I liked this book (The One and Only Sam: A Story Explaining Idioms for Children With Asperger Syndrome and Other Communication Difficulties). I have always been interested in idioms and this book really highlights just how silly and over-the-top some of our everyday speech is.

But as a tool to use with children, I think you would have to be very selective which children were ready for this book. Perhaps if you shared the books over the period of a week with a small group of children it could be highly useful.

As another reviewer pointed out, Amelia Bedelia is a much better introduction to idioms. It is not just children that suffer from Aspergers or other syndromes that have problems with idioms, it is all children. There are many great books out there to help them understand. The One and Only Sam just isn’t one of them.

One day it was raining and Sam’s mother said to his father, ‘My goodness, George – it is raining cats and dogs outside’. ‘That’s strange’, thought Sam. When he looked up into the sky, he couldn’t see cats and dogs anywhere, no matter where he looked. All he could see were giant raindrops and big puddles. “The One and Only Sam” is the heart-warming story of a boy who, like many children, often struggles to understand the ‘silly sayings’ used by adults. Throughout the story, Sam encounters a range of common idioms. Each idiom is accompanied by an illustration of its literal interpretation and its real meaning, encouraging children to explore what sayings such as ‘curiosity killed the cat’, ‘hold your horses’, and ‘quiet as a mouse’ sound like and what they might really mean. Special emphasis is placed on the ‘feeling aspect’ of each saying, encouraging children to think about the implied emotions of the words. The book also suggests simple steps that children can take whenever they encounter new and unfamiliar idioms that are not covered in the book. There is a list of additional books and websites that provides further resources to help children learn about idioms. “The One and Only Sam” provides a fresh and fun approach to exploring common idioms. It will help children aged 5 to 10, as well as those with language processing difficulties, to develop knowledge and enjoyment of the English language.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

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