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Sunday, September 18, 2011

My Name Is Elizabeth, written by Annika Dunklee and illustrated by Matthew Forsythe. Kids Can Press, 2011. $16.95 ages 3 and up

"I really like my name.
I like that it is nine letters
And I like all the neat
things my mouth does
when I say it."

I always thought that a great way to start a new year with kids in my class was to share books about names with them. It gave them a chance to talk about their own names, to ask questions about the origin for that name at home, and it gave the other children in the class daily reminders about their classmates, and who they were. So, I am always on the lookout for such books to share in my workshops with teachers, parents and student teachers. Lucky me if I also get to share it with kids when I make a classroom visit.

I love Elizabeth. She is independent, assertive, and she loves her name. As you can see from the opening
quote, there are specific things she likes about it, and she is happy to share her feelings. After all, she has a queen named after her!

What she doesn't particularly appreciate is when people call her the many nicknames that are associated with her given name...Lizzy, Liz, Beth, Betsy. Good grief!! Many of us can relate to those feelings, I am sure. In fact, she wants everyone to know her by her full name:

"My NAME is ELIZABETH Alfreda Roxanne Carmelita Bluebell Jones!!"

and don't you forget it! But, you can call her Elizabeth. Everyone gets the message.

Matthew Forsythe has created wonderful illustrations using only black, orange and blue. The characters have a cartoon feel which a young audience will surely enjoy. The expressions on Elizabeth's face assure our understanding for the way she is feeling, before she makes her declaration and after she has reminded everyone. We don't hear about her constant companion in the text, but the artist makes us keenly aware of the attentive and quite regal duck as it follows her from place to place.
The only person allowed to mess with 'Elizabeth' is her little brother...and she is most understanding of his attempt at such a long and lovely name.

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