Inside: Book review of Don’t Ever Look Behind Door 32 PLUS a free printable number matching game
DISCLOSURE: I received a free copy of this book to review (opinions are my own).
AUTHOR: B.C.R. Fegan
ILLUSTRATOR: Lenny Wen
PUBLISHING: 2017, TaleBlade Press
INTENDED AUDIENCE: Ages 3-8
THEME: Fantasy, Suspense, Mystery
OPENING LINES: Welcome to the magical Hotel of Hoo. Where I’ll be your host. Mr Nicholas Noo.
SYNOPSIS from the book blurb: The magical Hotel of Hoo is a mysterious place with some very unusual occupants. As our guests explore the strange hotel, they are invited to experience everything it has to offer with just one warning … don’t ever look behind door 32.
WHY I LIKE THIS BOOK: I love the colours, the illustrations, the suspense, and the fantastical creatures! The story grabs you from page 1 and hangs on right ’til the very end, with a sweet and somewhat surprise ending. The characters are likeable and even the scariest creatures are pretty friendly looking. I also really like that it’s a rhyming book (so important in the early years to help develop an ear for language) AND a counting book. I think the story line and pictures will appeal to most young kids. And BONUS: This book lends itself so well to lots of story activities!
1. PREDICTIONS: Before reading the book, show the kids the cover and read the title. Talk about what they think might be behind door 32 then have them draw their predictions (only give them about 5 minutes). After reading the page before door 32 is opened, ask them to embellish their prediction OR turn the page over and change their prediction. It’s fun to share the prediction drawings before reading the last page for the big reveal.
2. ROUND UP THE RHYMES: Read the book a second time and ask the kids to identify all the rhyming pairs. Talk about whether or not the rhymes share the same spelling pattern. Let pairs of kids choose a rhyming pair and generate more rhymes. I always like to give them a long strip of paper and smelly felts to make their list.
3. MEMORY RECALL: After reading the story a couple of times, see if the class can collectively remember everything that was behind the doors.
4. WRITING: Pick a favourite door and write about what was behind it. OR, pretend there’s a door 33 and create something completely different.
5. NUMBERS: Print cards from 1 to 32 in digits and words, then have the kids practice matching them. You can make your own or you can grab mine below!
6. MORE COUNTING: Each page has a SECRET ITEM to find and count. You can find the list at TaleBlade Press. Just scroll down to activities. For example, behind Door 1 there’s 1 suitcase, Door 2 there’s 2 clowns, Door 3 there’s 3 knights etc.
7. DRAMA: I’ve done this lots of times with various books over the years and the kids really love it. It’s an easy way to get a little drama practice in. Invite one child at a time to come up to the front with you. Show him/her a picture of one of the rooms (be sure no one else can see the pic). Their job is to act out or mime the illustration and see if the other kids can guess which room (not the number, but the creatures and their activity). This could also be done in pairs and it’s fun to stretch it out over several days so everyone can get a turn.
8. ART: Use pastels to have the kids draw and colour their favourite page from the book. It would be fun to take a separate piece of paper and decorate it like a door (with the appropriate door number) and fold/glue it to the illustration so that it looks like a door opening. These would make a great bulletin board display.
DOWNLOAD: MATCHING NUMBERS GAME
You can follow the illustrator, Lenny Wen, on Instagram.
The author, B.C.R. Fegan, has more books here.
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