Saturday, March 5, 2011

Review: My Name is Not Alexander

Awhile back, we were lucky enough to read and review My Name is Not Isabella, which we loved (and which became a NY Times Best Seller). When we heard that My Name is Not Alexander would be hitting the shelves soon, we jumped at the chance to read it.

My Name Is Not AlexanderLike Isabella, Alexander enjoys pretending to be different famous people as he goes about his day, lovingly tolerated by his father. The playful exchanges between father and son about which character Alexander is pretending to be on each page make up the text of the book.

"I am Thomas, the greatest, brightest inventor who ever was!  Well, Thomas, let me see that BRILLIANT smile LIGHT up the room."
The last few pages of the book contain more detailed information about each of the famous men in the book -- Teddy Roosevelt, Thomas Edison, Chief Joseph, Fred Astaire, Jackie Robinson, and "Daddy."  One thing that I really like about these two books (Isobella and Alexander) is that the writing level appeals to young children, but the information at the back of the book educates them at a fairly high level.  Often I have to choose between simple picture books that appeal to the Bibliophile or trying to "dumb down" nonfiction books that are way over his head if I want him to learn anything.  A book that is fun AND educational is of course a win-win.

The dedication page at the front of the book makes it a great gift choice.  In My Name is Not Alexander, the dedication reads "This book belongs to _______________ the sweetest, kindest, smartest, bravest, fastest, toughest, greatest kid that ever was.

The Bibliophile loved the book.  At one point later in the day, I caught him thumbing through it again, and when I said something, he said "hold on.  I'm busy right now."  I nearly cried (with joy). The Bibliophile doesn't do independent play.  This was high praise, indeed.

Extension Activity ideas

We turned the book into some pretend play by using a plastic name badge sleeve (on a necklace) from a recent conference we attended. I cut up a piece of paper and quickly scribbled the names of some people he could pretend to be: Picasso, Mozart, Ghandi, Mama, Dada, Neil Armstrong, Abraham Lincoln.  These don't match the book, but honestly, if I had thought about it more, they would have, to maximize the learning potential. Either way, he had some good fun with it, and we'll probably revisit the idea again with other names.

The next day, we also took turns writing a name down on a piece of paper and pretending to be that person while others guessed who it was.  I was a little worried about what he'd say while pretending to be mama.  He said, "you need to eat more!"

I just realized that the author, Jennifer Fosberry, will be traveling to our favorite local bookstore this month!  I will try to take the Bibliophile, so he can tell her in person how much he enjoys her books.  If you'd like to see if she will be in your area, feel free to leave a comment.  I have a tour schedule which includes stops in California, Colorado, Arizona, Utah, Florida, and Pennsylvania.  (I'll update this post with a link if I find one that has a full schedule).  

I am linking this post up with What My Child Is Reading.

Disclosure: I was provided a copy of My Name is Not Alexander at no cost in order to write this review. If you click on any of the links and purchase anything, we may earn a small commission through our affiliate relationship with


Christy said...

We LOVED LOVED LOVED My Name is Not Isabella. I can't wait to read this book!

Your extension activity is great!

I wonder if MA or RI will be added to the list of tour stops???

Anonymous said...

I would be thrilled to see her in Utah. Your info would be great. Thanks!

Infant Bibliophile said...

@Anonymous, she'll be in Layton and Salt Lake. Here are links -

Julie said...

We've never read either of these books but they sound great!

Raising a Happy Child said...

I was wondering about My Name Is Not Isabella and whether it would appeal to my daughter. I am not so sure she would understand the idea without having background of all those famous people. Maybe I'll see if I can get it from the library and try it out. My daughter does independent play great... when it's time for us to go somewhere or go to bed. Thanks for joining WMCIR!