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Hand: Even adults can learn from children’s books

Luci Hand

Luci Hand

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Updated: November 21, 2013 6:20AM



I learn something new every day. It’s particularly fun when I learn from a children’s book.

“The Girl Who Heard Colors” by Marie Harris introduces us to Jillian.

Jillian loves all five of her senses. She loves to feel her bunny’s whiskers, to taste maple syrup on her pancakes, smell the grass, and see the geese flying and the sound of them honking.

She also loves seeing the colors of everything she hears. That’s right, colors of what she hears. Dogs bark in red, her bike bell is silver, wind is light gray and rain is light purple.

We follow Jillian to school and enjoy all of her senses with her. Then, a lunch box falls with a bang and she responds to the teacher that it is yellow.

The kids laugh and we see how her colors change at their derision. Her teacher is worried so they have her eyes and ears checked.

On music day, Jillian can’t stand all the colors from all the noise.

The music teacher understands, as he does too. It is called synethesia, and it manifests itself in various ways.

There is an explanation in the back about the “extra sense.” It does make me wonder what a symphony would look like.

Research, anyone?

Animals communicate as well. In “Talk, Talk, Squawk!” by Nicola Davis, we learn that many animals talk to each other.

In Africa, the putty-nosed monkeys use certain sounds for certain things, just like we do.

Stinkbugs tap out messages on leaves to find each other. Most of us have heard whale songs.

Communication takes other forms than sounds. Uniforms, or certain color combinations, make animals stand out in a crowd and find each other.

Cleaner wrasse, a little fish, does just that — clean bigger fish of parasites. They must trust the big fish not to eat them so they wear a uniform of stripes unlike other fish and are safe. They dance so the big fish can see them, too.

Some animals use bright colors to show danger. Our little book goes on and on with tons of different ways animals communicate.

We thought only humans do this? Wow. We are way behind.

Don’t let the size and cover of this little book deter you, it is filled with fabulous facts.

Music is one of the special “noises” that we enjoy and I especially enjoy the “noise” of Wynton Marsalis.

In “Squeak, Rumble, Whomp! Whomp! Whomp!” we join him for a wonderful look at sounds. This is for the little ones or anyone who loves to make “sound words” come to life.

A nosy mouse, a saxophone, trucks, tummies that are empty and tons more are here to enjoy.

You have got to love the tubas. They are having a ball. Washboards and itches, bass viols and even a kazoo join the merry making.

This is a spectacular read-a-loud vocabulary builder. I would suggest practicing first. (Do not attempt in a “quiet” place!)



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