Sep 21, 2010

PLEASE give it back to me when you are done!

I guess it is a good thing when the book that you are supposed to be reviewing is constantly disappearing, only to be returned to you with an earnest request that you return it as soon as possible. Character concerns regarding selfishness aside, it should likewise be considered a positive sign when the book is constantly being hidden so that one doesn't lose it to the siblings who are anxiously awaiting their turns.

How much more exciting is it when the book in question is technically "school"?

I recently received a copy of "Vocabulary Cartoons, SAT Word Power" by New Monic Books, Inc. to review as a part of This Old Schoolhouse review crew. As always, I received the book for free in exchange for this review, but the book typically retails for $12.95. As soon as the book arrived and was opened, the book disappeared. Rumor had it that Linnea had it. This was confirmed when Linnea approached me some days later with great indignation that "someone stole my book!". The book was found and returned to Linnea, with the admonition that it be returned to the sister who had "borrowed" it so that they could likewise enjoy it. Linnea agreed, but added the request that makes the title of this post. This was the typical scenario for this handy little book and one I relished seeing.

The book is, as is obvious by the title, a book designed to strengthen one's vocabulary. It is based on the scientifically proven and time honored principles of mnemonics. As explained in the introduction, "A mnemonic is a device that helps you remember something by associating what you are trying to remember with something that you already know". The publisher assures the parent that students that use "Vocabulary Cartoons" "score 72 percent more words than the student that used the traditional rote memory studying methods". It also claims that students tested several months later had a 90% retention rate for the words learned. The book teaches one word per page. The word and definition is highlighted and the link given. A cartoon is shown, along with a caption utilizing both the word and the link. Three examples of the use and variants of the word are at the bottom of the page. One word is "NOXIOUS (NAWKS shus) adj. physically or mentally destructive or harmful to human beings. Link: KNOCKS US. Below this is a cartoon of a woman walking down a sidewalk with men and skunk lying gasping for air behind her and the caption "Her cheap perfume was so NOXIOUS, it almost KNOCKED US out". At the bottom of the page are the examples *The NOXIOUS pollutants discharged into the bay by the paper mill killed all the marine life.* *The NOXIOUS waste produced by nuclear power plants is stored in special containers.* and *Bob covered his nose and mouth with a wet paper towel so not to inhale the NOXIOUS fumes of the fire.

After every ten words is a review where the student is to match the word with the definition and to insert the appropriate word (in varied forms) into test sentences.

My children really enjoyed this book. Period. They enjoyed the cartoons and they also enjoyed the challenge of the review quizzes. I will definitely be buying volume two for them, it may even end up as one of Linnea's Christmas gifts, seeing how much she enjoyed it. It is pretty funny to have to chastise your daughter for doing this...

instead of helping sort through the books on the shelf behind her for the annual Swede Farm book purge which is what she was supposed to be doing!

1 comment:

Jennifer said...

Sounds like a great book to keep in mind for when my boys are just a bit older. We are enjoying the cartoon vocabulary book for younger children as well. I was stopping by because I thought I had found someone who was posting their Salem Ridge Press link later than mine, but alas, you were posting about a different product. I enjoyed your review - it wasn't at all NOXIOUS!