Review by CAROLYN M. MULLIN
Former elementary school teacher, Cindy Olejar, has developed a line of books that hone in on an early elementary student’s use of different words, whether they’re the prepositions in Find the Cat and More or the verbs in What is the Dog Doing?
With the same basic set up, each page depicts a photograph of either a cat or a dog and asks the reader “Where is the cat?” or “What is the dog doing?” The responses are usually two-fold, which help students see that there is more than one way to look at something.
For example, a picture of a cat in front of a house will read,
The cat is next to the tree.
The cat is walking on the sidewalk.
While readers will enjoy meeting a new cat or dog in each photograph (the dog book actually has a unique name listed for each canine), I think my favorite aspect of What is the Dog Doing? is that it shows dogs as more than one-dimensional beings. They’re visiting dinosaur parks, like Murphy the dog, and sprinting, cuddling, sleeping, snoozing, lying, stopping, and much more. And each canine image again can be interpreted in a few ways. For example, Red the dog is in a lake and the accompanying text reads,
The dog is wading in the water.
The dog is cooling off in the water.
The last few pages of What is the Dog Doing? is more of a workbook where students can fill in their own answers of what they think the dog is doing.
While the series is a homegrown effort, students will appreciate this approach to education.
Ages 4 – 8.