Dolphin and Whale Magazine :  January issue 2011
 
 
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Children's Whale Tales


 Review of A Whale of a Tale!
 
By Bonnie Worth, published by Random House
 copyrighted by Dr. Seuss Enterprises, L.P., 2006

At first glance, this 45 page book looks like a fun Dr. Seuss children’s book. The illustrations on the front cover draw the reader in because they look like exact replicas of beloved characters created by Dr. Seuss, the famous children’s author and illustrator. Because of this visual display, one expects to read a book with an excellent rhyming scheme and the great hallmark humor of Dr. Seuss. Worth’s book, however, falls short of that mark. Although the book is in rhyme, the rhymes are often awkward. They don’t roll off the tongue, making the reading difficult for young readers. The strongest aspect of the book is the general, but accurate, content given about porpoises, dolphins, and whales. Children learn about the physiology, behavior, and special abilities of many different
cetaceans, such as bottlenose dolphins, Dall’s porpoises, and humpback whales. Had the writer written in her own style, it would have been better than copying the hallmark style of someone else, especially someone as well known as Dr. Seuss. This book has merit on its own, but it falls short of the imitated standard. Maybe that is the lesson here for all of us. Namely, live authentically, on the basis of your own merit, and there won’t be any need to live an imitated life.
 
 Rating: 2/5 whale tails
 by Rhonda LaFountaine
 

Commentary


Children Need to Live Their Ideas
by Rhonda LaFountaine
Children need to live their ideas. Education, at its very best, allows the child to bring forth what is inside. The true meaning of education comes from the root word educare, which means to draw forth or to bring out. This is a much different process from the typical meaning we ascribe to education. As stated in the typical dictionary, the meaning of education is “the act or process of imparting or acquiring general knowledge; the result produced by instruction.” One definition educates from the outside in, the other from the inside out. One honors the rich inner knowing of the child, the other assumes the child needs to be filled up with information he does not know. I had the good fortune of starting a school in the mid-eighties where I was able to watch the process of drawing forth and bringing out multiple times. Every time, I was thrilled to watch the child produce her own results and be proud of the knowledge she had. Here is a story describing one such experience.

Children know what they need. They know what they came here to contribute. They have an inherent sense of who they are, and they will tell us if we will listen.
 
The Child needed to know
what was inside Rocks.
Safe-Child-Watching Teacher said,
“I will let you break rocks,
but you must think of a way to do this safely.”
Needs-to-Know Child
found a cloth and a hammer
and told Safe-Child-Watching Teacher,
that she would cover the rocks
and then break them.
“Yes,” said Safe-Child-Watching Teacher,
“I also have plastic glasses so you can keep your vision clear.”

Needs-to Know Child began to crack Rocks.

By herself,
she cracked Rocks
for 5 hours that day.
She cracked Rocks
everyday
for 30 days.

At the end of these days,
she put the tools
on a shelf
and said to Safe-Child-Watching Teacher,
“Now I know
what is inside Rocks.”

 
This child grew up to be a brilliant artist, and much of what she paints and photographs comes in the form of minute, often microscopic looking at the internal workings of things. She knew what she needed to learn, even at the age of 4.

 
 
 
 
 
Five year old Katie has the opportunity to get to know a Red
Shoulder Hawk chick after it has been banded for study purposes.

Young Madeline has another chick (about 4 weeks of age) in her lap.
Please note that she has a newly hatched Cicada in each hand.  She was very displeased when her mother would not allow her take them in the van, as there would be plenty at home.

 
 

 
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