Monday, September 2, 2013

Runny Babbit

So, in an earlier post, I hinted that our Book Club would be doing something a bit different this year.  We will still be meeting for regular meetings, but because one of our families moved an hour and a half away, we tried to think of a way to lighten the driving load.  I came up with this idea ... the "Traveling Book Club."  Basically, every other month (when we wouldn't be meeting), we would be swapping a notebook, with instructions for activities surrounding a new read, prepared by one family.  Once it was prepared, that family would pass it to the second family. Once the second family completed the book and suggested activities, they would then pass it on to the third family, who would then complete the activities, and then prepare the next reading.  This one read would take place over the course of two months so that we could fit six books in a year's time.  This would also ensure that each of the three families prepared two books, so we share the load.  And because we are doing six travelling books, our physical meetings could be cut in half, to six meetings instead of twelve, which cuts down on driving time and gas. I hope it works!

Here is the notebook I put together.  I thought it would be fun for us to keep an ongoing record of our books, so the kids could flip through it when it was in their possession, and see everyone else's work, as well as their own previous contributions.
So, I have to admit that it was a bit of a challenge to come up with the first book for our "Traveling Book Club."  For one, I had a handful that I thought may be good candidates.  For another, I love to do thematic snacks and such, and I knew it would be not only a challenge to come up with activities for the kids to do on their own, but also I knew it would be challenging to relay the activities to the other moms on paper.  I just decided to go for it.  When I learned that Shel Silverstein's birthday was in the month of September (the 25th, to be exact), I knew I wanted to do a Shel Silverstein book.  The question was, which one?  I toyed with the idea of The Missing Piece, but had trouble thinking of some activities to go along with it.  It then occurred to me that it might be fun to introduce some poetry to the group, so Runny Babbit it was!
I had some ideas in mind, but finding this site,, was helpful.  I thought the easiest way I could relay my instructions for the other families in our Book Club was to just copy and paste them here, so that's what I'm going to do ...
1.  Read the back of the dust jacket first to your kids, about Shel Silverstein.  See their reactions to the mixed-up words in the last sentence.  (This is an example of a spoonerism.  A spoonerism is defined as an accidental (or in this case, purposeful) transposition of initial consonant sounds or parts of words, especially in an amusing way.)  See if they can catch the mix-up.  Tell them that September 25th is his birthday and that is one of the reasons we are doing this book now, in honor of him.
2.  Now, flip the book over and read the cover together.  Giggle and try to find the mistakes in the words.
3.  Now, turn to page 4 and read it together to get a simple explanation as to the mix-up of the
words throughout the book.  Discuss how the poet has reversed the first letter in some words to make the language unfamiliar and fun.  Together, translate the excerpt.
4.  Now, explore some of the characters throughout this book by looking at the inside of the front and back covers.  (You will see many animals, with their funny names underneath.)  These are some of the characters found in 'way down in the green woods,' as discussed on page 4.  Enjoy these, reminding the children that Shel Silverstein not only came up with these characters and their names, but also drew the illustrations.
5.  Now, set the book down and get ready for the first activity.  Each child will need a couple of pieces of paper and a pencil.  (Please no colors, as we are trying to simulate the author’s illustrations.)  Have each child draw an animal of their choice (dog, bear, squirrel, whatever they want).  Now, on the separate piece of paper, have them write out the correct spelling of that animal, using a capital letter for the first letter of that word.  For example, if they drew a dog (which I did as my example), have them write 'Dog' on the separate piece.  Next, have them imagine a name for that animal, then have them write that name in front of the animal name they had already written.  (For example, I thought up the name 'Happy,' so I wrote that in front of 'Dog' making the paper read, 'Happy Dog.')  Now, have them swap the first letter of both words.  (Mine then said, 'Dappy Hog.')  Have your children write this mixed-up name under their illustrations.  (Feel free to let them see the examples that Maggie and I have in the notebook.)  Once done, set aside for later.  (Moms, you can do this, too, if you want!  It may help your children to have your example, and they may enjoy you participating.)"
Here is a photo of my "Dappy Hog."
And here is Maggie, drawing her animal, a cat, of course!
 Let me introduce you to "Citten Mat," more easily read, "Mitten Cat!"  (Cute.)
Continuing on with the instructions from our notebook ...
"6.  Now, let’s read some poetry!  I know these are a mouthful, so you may want to read these poems over a couple of days, but be sure to read them all.  They are funny (like 'Runny and the Sea Poup,' page 61), and the kids will enjoy them.  Together, read them the way they are written, then the way they should sound, and enjoy the illustrations!
7.  Once you’ve read Silverstein’s poetry together, review spoonerisms by looking at the list of some opposite this page, and decipher the real words."
Here is that list:
Rancy Festaurant
Soodle Noup
Mubber Rat
Grancakes off the Piddle
Bience Scook
Rurple Robe
Gaughed and Liggled
Chilled Greese
Calloween Hostume
Boast Reef
Howboy Cat
Suzzy Flippers
Leat Moaf
Parrots and Ceas
Continuing on ...
"8.  Next, see if you can change the second list of words on the opposite page into 'Runny Babbit' talk."

Here is that list:
Can you make these words more like Runny Babbit's?
Pink Lemonade
Colored Pencil
Roller Coaster
Tennis Shoe
Chicken Soup
Library Book
Tea Party
Music Teacher
Cell Phone
Greeting Card
Log House
Peanut Butter
Jigsaw Puzzle
Chocolate Milk

Continuing on ...

"9.  Now we’re ready for our own writing activity.  Take out the pictures the kids drew and use these to have the children write a funny sentence, paragraph, or poem about their characters.  For the younger children, copying a sentence they dictate is fine.  For the older children, they might want to try their hands at a little poetry writing about their characters.  Let them be creative.  Once they have written about their characters, together, swap a couple of first consonants to make spoonerisms.  Have them copy that 'Runny Babbit' version of their sentences/poems onto the 'My Punny Runny Babbit Foem/Fentence' sheet, provided in the page protectors.  (I have provided a few extras as well, behind the Spoonerisms Word List, for mistakes and for the moms to do, if desired.)  Once their 'foems/fentences' are transferred onto those sheets, have them draw a picture of their characters underneath to illustrate the words.  (See ours as an example.)  Display all of their work in the page protectors where indicated so all of the group can enjoy!"
Here is my "Punny Foem."  (Click on the actual picture to see it larger.)
 And here is Maggie's!  :)
I can't wait to see what the other kids come up with when the notebook returns!  I will update this post when it does, with some examples of their work as well.  I'm also looking forward to see what the next host family prepares!  Should be fun!


  1. This looks like a fot of lun, I love the trees!! Foonerisms are spunny, sometimes they pop out in a regular conversation, like my husband was looking for his "phell cone" one time, (s sound on cone). Mongratulations to Caggie on starting Girst Frade! :)
    "Candy Sols"

  2. oops I didn't realize I had moved into a different post, the trees were pretty but not on this page :)