Marvelous New Picture Books Mondays: Telephone

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This week on Marvelous Monday, we will be reviewing Mac Barnett’s Telephone, illustrated by Jen Corace. This bright and colorful book tells the story of a message being transmitted via telephone wire. Except this time, the birds on the wire are the ones passing the message along!

Peter’s mother first asks the Robin to tell her son to “fly home for dinner.” As the message continues down the line, various birds spin it all around. It’s like a game of broken telephone!

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The story will keep readers laughing and engaged, wondering whether Peter will ever receive the message to go home for dinner. The illustrations and the text align beautifully to form a seamless narrative. At several points throughout the book, the illustrations zoom out to reveal the entire line of birds and communication. This view provides an easy way for children to conceptualize how the message has been passed along throughout the tale.

The text is simple, yet contains some new vocabulary words and ideas, such as propeller planes and lobsters. This book teaches an important lesson about how easily the truth can be altered as it passes through the grapevine (like rumors in school!). Children will love seeing all of the species of birds and will certainly get a good laugh out of this silly story!

Reviewed by Lindsey Feinstein and Rachel Riendeau

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