Too Darn Cute

Wednesday, April 9, 2014


Written and Illustrated by Keith Baker

From acrobats, artists, and astronauts all the way to zoologists, the little green peas in this story introduce themselves one letter at a time. The big, bright letters on each page are accompanied by cute round peas with arms, legs, and costumes that show us what they do best. It's filled with alliteration (which I love!) and great rhyming and rhythm that bounces through the pages.

This is a unique book that shows off some words you don't find in a typical ABC book for children - words like electricians, investigators, and parachutists. There is a wide variety of jobs, hobbies, and interests included, so everyone can find something with which they identify. It's snappy, fun to read, and more interesting than many of the other ABC books I have read to my little guy. Though he's not quite old enough to recite his ABCs yet, it won't be long until he can appreciate this one more fully!

Fun Fact! I learned a new word while looking up some info and pictures for this book! It's a cool one too: An abecedarian (noun, pronounced ay-bee-see-dair-ee-uhn) is a person who is learning the alphabet, or a beginner in any field of learning. It can also be an adjective describing something pertaining to the alphabet or something arranged in alphabetical order. For example, "This abecedarian book shows little green peas doing a variety of jobs to help abecedarians practice each letter of the alphabet."

This would be a great story to share with a classroom! Although its target audience is probably the younger grades, I had a few fun ideas for activities to help you use it in both younger and older elementary grades that I think all will enjoy.

First Day of School (older grades)
After introducing themselves, the story ends with the peas asking, "Who are you?" I was always looking for fun new ways to get students to introduce themselves during the first week of school. I love that the peas in this story introduce so many different roles. There are very specialized occupations like farmers and vets, but there are also many everyday activities, like listeners and readers, that many of us would use to describe ourselves. It would be so fun to see what the kids could come up with to describe themselves. Ask them to list the alphabet vertically on a piece of paper and give them enough time to think through each letter of the alphabet and come up with at least one role for each letter that describes them. They can be as serious as "painters" or as silly as "gigglers." Encourage them to be creative!

Jobs (younger grades)
Younger elementary grades often spend time discussing different roles of members in a community. In Utah, I know first graders identify roles of people in school and in the neighborhood. LMNO Peas can be a fun book to use in a lesson about identifying jobs. As you reread the story with the class, ask them which of these roles they can find in school? Which can be found in their community? Are any of them found in both? You could also make a class list of jobs not included in the book. I'm sure the students will have lots of ideas to contribute to your list.

Career Day
If you have a career day in your classroom, this would be a great story to share with them on that day or as an introduction to the special day. Invite students to dress up in the "uniform" of whatever they want to be when they grow up. Each student could draw his own picture of a pea as someone that he wants to become (or assign each student a different letter of the alphabet and ask them to illustrate one job for that letter). I love the diversity of jobs in the book and the idea of exposing students to careers they've never considered.

If you enjoy this one, be sure to check out Baker's other pea-inspired stories, 1-2-3 Peas (all about numbers) and Little Green Peas (all about colors).

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