13 Words
13 Words
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Annotation: A dog attempts to cheer up his friend, a despondent bird, in a tale that introduces a series of words from "baby" to "haberdashery."
Catalog Number: #5612802
Format: Paperback
All Formats: Search
Common Core/STEAM: Common Core Common Core
Publisher: HarperCollins
Copyright Date: 2010
Edition Date: 2010
Illustrator: Kalman, Maira,
Pages: 40
Availability: Available
ISBN: 0-06-166467-7
ISBN 13: 978-0-06-166467-0
Dewey: E
LCCN: 2009039671
Dimensions: 28 cm.
Language: English
ALA Booklist
Snicket is an ideal author for a high-concept picture book: no matter how confusing it gets, there's always some appealingly snide charm to fall back on. This story is constructed upon 13 (randomly chosen?) words that move from bird to mezzo-soprano, and as one might imagine, the journey is a convoluted one. The bird starts out despondent (visual context is everything here, with the bird standing on a can of mushy peas, a rain cloud overhead, and a book by Kafka nearby , that one's for the parents). His dog friend tries to cheer him by buying him a hat from the haberdashery. There's a few headscratchers (the dog has the bird paint 11 ladders in 10 colors), and Snicket is too coy at times (using verve to help elucidate panache isn't tremendously helpful). Still, a book that pushes boundaries and demands such active participation on the part of both readers and listeners to connect language with images (and Kalman's quirky artwork is a perfect fit, littered with fun details) is to be commended, if not wholly comprehended.
Horn Book
Snicket spins out a story from thirteen main words, starting with "1: Bird" and ending with "13: Mezzo-Soprano." A bird is despondent ("Word Number 2"). His friend Dog tries to cheer him up with cake and a new hat from the "9: Haberdashery." Kalman's artistry adds panache ("Word Number 12") to the lighthearted yet layered story of friendship and vocabulary-boosting.
Kirkus Reviews
"WORD NUMBER 1: Bird. / The bird sits on the table." A modest start, perhaps, but the gorgeous, Matisse-like, gelato-colored spread drips in mystery. The table legs, for example, are sprouting leaves. "WORD NUMBER 2: Despondent." Poor bird. She's now standing atop Mushy Peas, next to a Kafka book. Happily, she finds cake, which is WORD NUMBER 3. The story—and it is actually a winsome story of friendship—proceeds thus, with a Snicketian 13 words in all, including 4) dog (who wants to cheer up his feathered friend, probably with a hat); 5) busy; 6) convertible; 7) goat; 8) hat; 9) haberdashery; 10) scarlet; 11) baby; 12) panache; and 13) mezzo-soprano. Snicket and Kalman are perfectly matched here, both revelers in life's delicious (mmm... cake) details and things best left unexplained... such as why the bird has to paint 11 ladders in ten colors, why the scarlet-doored haberdashery's owner is a baby and why the bird never stops feeling despondent, despite her new hat that has so very much panache. This charming chef-d'oeuvre sings like a mezzo-soprano. (Picture book. 3-10)
Publishers Weekly
Based on an unlucky number of key words and authored by someone who takes pleasure in unfortunate events, this volume conjures a sense of foreboding. ""Word Number 1: Bird"" introduces the central character, and the accompanying illustration pictures a royal-blue bird perched on a linen tablecloth, in a yellow-and-pink dining room that might have been painted by Matisse. The bird's eye droops sadly, whereupon readers turn to ""Word Number 2: Despondent"" and ""Word Number 3: Cake,"" an item that might alleviate a bird's ennui, at least temporarily. Despite ominous beginnings, the proceedings turn upbeat with the arrival of a chic ""Word Number 4: Dog,"" who concocts witty diversions for the gloomy bird. Kalman's eccentric gouaches elevate the wintry mood; the dog, with his sly grin, resembles Kalman's Max, particularly when he tries on hats at ""Word Number 9: Haberdashery."" Sprinkled with additional vocab words like ""spiffy"" and featuring surreal landscapes in ice-cream hues, this word-association game recalls Kalman's solo productions. The conclusion, however, belongs to Snicket, because ""the bird, to tell you the truth, is still a little despondent."" All ages. (Oct.)
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2&12; The 13 words that are the basis for this sophisticated picture book are "bird," "despondent," "cake," "dog," "busy," "convertible," "goat," "hat," "haberdashery," "scarlet," "baby," "panache," and "mezzo-soprano." Each word is listed at the top of the page spread where it is featured, and the story continues on. The despondent bird lives with the dog and the mezzo-soprano. The dog, in an effort to cheer up his friend, goes for a ride with the goat to the haberdashery to pick up a hat for the bird. Upon returning home with the gift, the dog tells the mezzo-soprano about their day, and she commences to sing out the plot of the book. While not standard picture-book fare, there are moments of silliness (the owner of the haberdashery is a baby) and joy (all kinds of cake). The artwork is trademark Kalman: playful, colorful, and filled with surprises. Best for one-on-one reading, 13 Words could also be used as a model for primary-grade children to write their own stories featuring a list of seemingly unrelated words.&12; Stacy Dillon, LREI, New York City
Word Count: 849
Reading Level: 3.5
Interest Level: P-2
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 3.5 / points: 0.5 / quiz: 141240 / grade: Lower Grades

From bestselling author Lemony Snicket and celebrated illustrator Maira Kalman comes an uproarious, whimsical word book like no other.

Together, Snicket and Kalman present a strikingly beautiful journey woven from a practical introduction to thirteen wonderful words, featuring such marvels as Bird, Dog, Panache, and Haberdashery. Snicket, the notoriously clever and elusive New York Times bestselling author, pushes the boundaries of storytelling in the most fanciful of ways. Maira Kalman, renowned for her art and design, carries this madcap adventure to wondrous heights with her vision of a world populated with hats, song, and cake. This rollicking, surprising book is a true celebration of words.

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