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Monday, August 28, 2017

Hector the Collector, written by Emily Beeny and illustrated by Stephanie Graegin. Roaring Brook Press, Macmillan. Raincoast, 2017. $24.99 ages 4 and up

"They're all different,

and they're all the same,

and they're all beautiful."

Everyone was quiet.

"That," said the teacher
"is what makes a great

It's never too early to start talking with your students about collections, especially if you celebrate the 100th day of school each year. Collections are the perfect way to get them thinking about numbers, big and small. Whether they are collecting sets of five, ten, twenty or one hundred, a collection will give them plenty of opportunities to consider both counting and grouping.

What they collect opens up a conversation about things that are personal and important to them. As you begin the school year, it is very important for kids to share with each other what make them special and unique ... and it allows the classroom teacher to begin to generate a profile for each child in the class. There will be kids that are not collectors, but some may be just like Hector. Lucky he is to have a name that rhymes with a passion for gathering acorns.

He appreciates them all. As his collection grows, he is quick to note those details that make each one special. Of course, he loves them or he wouldn't pay such attention to his growing stash. It does lead to a bit of a problem.

"One day after lunch, his teacher checked
everyone's desk to see if they were all tidy.
Everyone else had pencils and notebooks.
Hector's was the only desk full of acorns.
Everyone laughed."

While the other students find it funny, and a bit strange, his teacher is very understanding and helps Hector explain. It begs the question of other classmates ... who else has a collection? Readers will be delighted to hear all about them, and may even want to talk about their own. Surely it will lead to thinking about other collections; perhaps an art museum. In an author's note, Ms. Beeny includes a few of those.

I really enjoyed the ever-changing perspectives and charming images that show Hector's neighborhood, park, schoolyard, and observant life. Many wonderful details are included to attract the attention of the children listening to his story, and to the adults reading it for them. Be sure to take a careful look.

Add this to your 'collection' and it might inspire the beginning for something new!

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