Say What? Reading Double Speak

reading with kids fun with wordsWere you thinking this is an article about some of the conflicting data about literacy theory? Sorry to disappoint! This is our Reading with Kids Series, where we celebrate books that engage young listeners and readers with the experience of reading. We have had fun with words and books that make you laugh out loud.

Next up: books that explore the multiple meanings of words. Say what? Yep! As our title suggests, words can have many meanings. Weave them together into a story and Voila!

These are some our favorite books that play with words in ways that make the reader think and laugh!

Say What? Books with Visual Illusion

books with double meaningDuck! Rabbit!
written by Amy Krouse Rosenthal; illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld
Chronicle Books, 2009

It’s a simple image, or so it seems. One narrator says it’s a duck. The other says it’s a rabbit. Can it be both? This is a book that demonstrates that one thing can be interpreted different ways.

A simple illustration carries along this story about two (off-page) viewers who seem to see one thing in two different ways.

More Imagery Fun @ The Reading Tub

Say What? That’s Pun-y

say what - books with puns The Amazing Trail of Seymour Snail
written by Lynn E. Hazen; illustrated by Doug Cushman
Henry Holt and Company, 2009

Seymour’s house is filled with his sculptures and paintings. Seymour liked them, but he wasn’t sure anyone else would. When his friends discovered his talent, they encouraged him to get a job. Ultimately, he took a job with the Speedy Arts Gallery as the errand snail: sliming envelopes, making deliveries.

A snail working in the Speedy Arts Gallery? Seymour Snail illustrates different ways of playing with words. This is an illustrated easy reader for developing readers, but it is also a nice choice for a read aloud book when you’re ready to read longer stories (but not yet chapter books).

More Word Play @ The Reading Tub

Say What? At a Loss for the Right Word

books that play with wordsPick a Pumpkin Mrs. Millie
written by Judy Cox; illustrated by Joe Mathieu
Marshall Cavendish, 2009

Mrs. Millie is a silly, silly teacher! She is taking her class to the pumpkin patch, but she gets all her words mixed up! In stead of saying “It’s NICE to see you!” she says, “It’s MICE to see you!” Each page has one mixed up word, with an illustration to match! Each time, the children in the class say “We know what you mean! You mean SEE the animals!).

This is a funny picture book that sneaks in learning about words with humor.  If you don’t read it exactly as the text appears on the page, sometimes there is more than one word that fits the story and also rhymes, and it’s fun to see what the kids come up with on their own.

More Word Oops’ @ The Reading Tub

Your Turn …

Now its your turn to say what books you love that play with words!

AmazonSmile – Shop & Give Back

Have you heard about the new AmazonSmile program? It has only been around for a few months. For nonprofits like The Reading Tub that rely on “passive fundraising,” AmazonSmile is a reason to, well, smile!

In a nutshell, AmazonSmile is Amazon, with all the features and selection of products on the main site. BUT, when you shop the AmazonSmile Foundation donates 0.5% of the price of eligible purchases to the charitable organizations you select.

The Reading Tub is one of the charities in the AmazonSmile philanthropic initiative. What is particularly beneficial to us is that there are no fees associated with the donation (unlike Paypal, which takes a small slice of your monetary contribution). It also doesn’t cost you anything extra!

With holiday shopping right around the corner, we thought now was a good time to invite you to support the Reading Tub via AmazonSmile. Not everyone shops on, and we can appreciate that. [We have some options for you coming soon.]

If IS one of your shopping destinations, we would be grateful for your support. We are 100% volunteer. That means 100% of any contributions we receive go to helping families and kids who need books in their lives!

AmazonSmile is an easy way to shop

amazonsmile signupVisit


support the reading tubUse the search box to find “Reading Tub Inc.”
Click “select” to choose The Reading Tub as your charity of choice.

amazonsmile thanks youBuy what you want and give to literacy, too.
Use the Firefox Extension to make it easy for Amazon Smile to kick in when you visit


Shop and Give Back this Holiday Season

Thanks in advance for all that you do to help us get books and literacy help to at-risk readers and their families!

Feel free to use our “Share a love of LITERACY this holiday” banner on your website, blog or via social. All that we ask in return is that you encourage your fans and followers to support the Reading Tub via AmazonSmile or GoodShop.

Hooray for Gollywood! An Interview with Terry John Barto

Gollywood Here I Come by Terry John BartoThose in “The Biz” may recognize the name Terry John Barto. Having choreographed and directed more than 200 stage productions, Terry John Barto knows a thing or two about storytelling.

Now he’s showcasing that talent as a children’s book author. His children’s books, combines his knowledge of the business with stories for children.

  • Gollywood Here I Come! is a window into the world of creating a movie.
  • Nickerbacher the Funniest Dragon (2015) introduces children the world of comedy performance.

For Terry, Anamazie (Gollywood) and Nickerbacher are more than children’s book characters. They are central figures in his bigger storytelling goal: re-introduce kids and their parents to the joy of *just* reading a book together.

Terry is passionate about not only creating original stories, but bringing children back to the experience of sharing and enjoying a book. Although not a big reader as a boy, Terry is well versed in children’s literature. Many of his favorites can be found on his Children’s Books Pinterest Board – or his nightstand.

We are excited to introduce children’s author Terry John Barto! So on with the show …

Golllywood Here I ComeRT: Welcome to the Reading Tub, Terry! And congratulations on your debut picture book. Gollywood, Here I Come!

Authors often talk about the importance of reading, but I was struck by your note on the back of Gollywood, Here I Come! Could you tells us more about what you mean by “reading with kids is becoming a lost art”?

Terry: Everything is so fast now. Video games and all kinds of entertainment comes flooding to kids on their tablets and smart phones. If they’re not on the computer or using a screen, they’re involved with various activities. It seems like fewer kids want to just sit and read.

RT: In our interview on the Reading Tub (link to website), you said that reading wasn’t a big part of your youth. Yet your Children’s Books board on Pinterest is filled with classic books! Do you have any children’s books on your nightstand at the moment?

Terry: I have two, actually. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle, and The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery. The books on my nightstand reflect fantasy, mystical stuff that I really like. There are adult books, too. I enjoy reading books of spiritual nature.

Walt Disney quotesRT: Sticking with Pinterest for a moment, you have lots of quotes from book characters and authors on your Inspiration board. Is there someone who inspired you to become a children’s author?

Terry: Walt Disney. As a kid, our family went to Disneyland many times and when I got older, I worked there. I was immersed in the stories either as an audience member or performer.

As I began researching animation, I was captivated by the magic and recognized what a great storyteller Walt was.

RT: Our last question here: if you had the chance to introduce Anamazie (Gollywood) to another character from children’s literature, who would that be? Why?

Terry: Madeline, because of her independence, charm, and gusto. I think they would like each other.

RT: Thanks for coming by, Terry! and congratulations on the launch of Gollywood, Here I Come! We look forward to sharing Nickerbacher’s story next year!

Read more of our interview with Terry on the Reading Tub website. Terry talks more about Gollywood, Here I Come; his reading interests as a boy; choreography and storytelling; and the inspirations for Anamazie and Nickerbacher. Check out our exclusive interview with Anamazie and Nickerbacher, too.

Connect with Terry

Visit Gollywood –

Watch the Gollywood trailer on YouTube –

Find Anamazie on


Find Nickerbacher on

Nickerbacher dragon on tumblr  Pinterest for Nickerbacher