Friday, December 14, 2012

Book #349: Question Boy Meets Little Miss Know-It-All by Peter Catalanotto

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As Question Boy walked down the street, his cape fluttering, he saw that Garbage Man was busy freeing the city of filth and rubbish. Question Boy wanted to know how much stuff Garbage Man could put in his truck. An elephant? A whale? A brontosaurus? Garbage Man jumped in his truck and drove away. Question Boy continued on his walk stopping to talk to Oil Man, Police Woman, Mechanic Man, Wonder Waitress, and even the dynamic duo – Mailman and Paperboy. Every one of them was defeated by the number and sheer force of Question Boy’s queries. Question Boy was distraught; no one had enough answers for him. But then he met Little Miss Know-It-All and the two engage in an epic battle of questions versus facts. Will Little Miss Know-It-All’s endless stream of information render Question Boy questionless? Has Question Boy met his match?

The text of this humorous book, written in third person, is mostly dialogue. The story moves along at a quick pace with each of Question Boy’s interactions building to the climatic battle of wits. The watercolor illustrations depict a suburban setting and show the neighborhood people from Question Boy’s point of view. For instance, the oil delivery guy (aka Oil Man) wears a blue spandex suit that covers his head and gives him Batman-ish ears. Catalanotto plays with the layout of illustrations and text to emphasize the force of Question Boy’s questions and Little Miss Know-It-All’s vociferous stream of trivia. The people are realistically rendered, with the addition of muscular physiques for the superheroes, and the children’s facial expressions and interactions are hilariously true to life.

Use this for a storytime about superheroes and pair it with Timothy and the Strong Pajamas, SuperHero ABC or Kel Gillian's Daredevil Stunt Show.

Follow up by making your own superhero cape. You can simply use an old sheet or scrap fabric and tie or pin it around your child’s neck. You can also use Jolly Mom’s template to make a no sew cape. She uses felt, but the instructions could work with any fabric. Have kids decorate their capes with fabric paint, fabric markers, and other notions you can easily glue to fabric (such as felt shapes, buttons, ribbons, etc.). Complete the superhero outfit with a toilet paper roll superhero cuff or a no sew foam superhero mask.

Little Miss Know-It-All spouts a lot of facts in this book, so if you’re working with elementary school students this book can be used as jumping off point for learning research skills. Have each child or group of children pick a fact from the book. This is a good time to practice using online or hard copies of encyclopedias, dictionaries, fact books, etc. Is the fact true? Can you answer Question Boy’s query, “Why?” What other facts did you learn along the way?


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