By: Brian P. Cleary
Publisher: Millbrook Press
Publication Date: January 2013
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler
Review Date: May 2013
Many young students enjoy learning about language with Brian Cleary’s colorful CATagorical cats. They have a lot of fun watching this wild and sometimes zany group of cats as they talk about language concepts. The little CATegorical teacher in the front points to her easel that claims comparatives are “forms of describing words that compare two things” while superlatives are “forms of describing words that compare three or more things.” Kids will get a good laugh when they see that little dog’s eyes widen when he spots that “hairier and scarier” dog with fangs for teeth. It just could be the biggest, meanest dog they’ve ever seen in the CATegorical books.
There are always exceptions to the rule and the cats explain, “But sometimes, you don’t add e-r. / Instead, you reach for ‘more,’ / as in more tired, / more beautiful, / and more impressive store.” Superlatives often end in e-s-t, but there are exceptions there as well. “But e-s-t is not the end / for some superlatives. / Most modern and most fun / are two example I can give.” Examples of comparative and superlative words are highlighted in bright, bold colors in the text, making it easier to find them in each sentence. In the back of the book is a sidebar that has several examples of “How to Form Comparatives and Superlatives.” This section offers a more “traditional” approach to learning about language concepts.
I thoroughly enjoy the books I’ve read in the “Words Are CATegorical” series of books. The great rhyming scheme and the colorful cats will entice even the most reluctant reader and fascinate those who are as smart-er than the average cat. This is an easy way for children to learn about comparatives and superlatives and their use. The vibrant and sometimes comical cats make the concepts easier to comprehend by presenting visuals. This is a book targeted to the youngster between the ages of seven and eleven. It is a simple and easy way to learn about these special adjectives. Quite some time ago I showed one of the books in this series to a friend who had a nine-year-old. He tried them out and has been hooked on them ever since and waits for each new book in the CATegorical series.
Quill says: The CATegorical books are perfect additions to homeschool and classroom shelves, especially for those reluctant readers!