Our brains hurt, but we also laughed. Runny Babbit delivers Shel Silverstein’s signature silly poetry that kids love, but is also full of brain teasers. First letters of words trade places, therefore demanding good listening and decoding to understand the phrases. Absolutely fantastic for stimulating attentive listening and reading skills, not to mention great for language and vocabulary development. Good for pattern recognition too!
Here are a few samples:
Think about trying Runny Babbit with unmotivated readers too. The short and self-contained poems are not overwhelming, and give a sense of accomplishment.
Shel Silverstein’s delightful illustrations add extra appeal. Check out this take on Cinderella: “Runny Cooks for Linderella”
The constant play on letters and words might be challenging for early readers, but is completely manageable and fun when read aloud. In fact, it’s a great opportunity for grown-ups to be sound silly and have fun with the kids.
Visit the official Shel Silverstein website for extension activities. The “Ideas for Teachers and Parents” has some great ideas for “Runny Babbit,” such as asking kids to translate the poems to regular English. How about analyzing rhyme patterns, or throwing a Runny Babbit party? Why not ask kids to make their own poems with first letters of words switched around?
The website features information about Shel Silverstein, also known for “The Giving Tree,” and “Where the Sidewalk Ends.” I highly recommend the recording of Silverstein reading from “Where the Sidewalk Ends.” This is a classic in my house! (Apparently, there is also a recording of Silverstein reading “Runny Babbit.”)
At once silly and challenging, Runny Babbit is a great find. Recommended: Ages 6 and up.