I don’t remember when I began learning about proverbs, but I vaguely remember my mum using this blue grammar book which covered all the basics of the English language, and I think it included some proverbs as well. (If you’re not sure what proverbs are, you can check out this list of 50 most important English proverbs, and you’ll realise that many of them are actually very commonly used.) Back then, I relied on rote memory to learn proverbs, because it was the fastest and easiest way to do so.
Honestly, it’s not easy to explain certain proverbs, and I remember how my form class was puzzled when I told them, “People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones” during a lesson. I can’t remember what I was talking about, but they were quite amused by it, and quoted it whenever they could. (In case you’re not sure of its meaning, it means that you shouldn’t criticise others for faults that you yourself also have.)
The Words of Wisdom (WOW) series consists of four books, each explaining a proverb through the use of a simple, rather literal story at the beginning, and then applying the proverb in a different, yet relevant situation. At the end of each story, the meaning of the proverb is clearly explained in one or two sentences, to reiterate the definition of the proverb. I think this format is useful for children, as they can learn the definition of the proverb, and see how it can be used too. The colourful illustrations complement the explanations in the stories, and help to capture the attention of younger readers like N.
Words of Wisdom Series
Don’t Judge a Book by its Cover is N’s favourite in the series, and he particularly loves looking at the pictures in this book. Yes, I can see the irony here, but kids are naturally drawn to interesting pictures when they can’t read on their own, right? In this story, Delphi the dolphin wants to have a different buddy from the one assigned to her, because he looks boring to her, but her teacher encourages her to get to know him first. She soon realises that he is fun to be with, and is glad to be friends with him.
Personally, I think this story is useful for children who are starting school or entering a new class. N recently started school here in Jakarta, and has had to make new friends. He has already become good friends with one of the boys in his class, but I do want him to play with everyone else, not just only one child, so I plan to read this book again with him, before suggesting that he gets to know the other children in his class too.
Don’t Judge a Book by its Cover
In Look Before You Leap, Leonie the lion cub runs and jumps rashly, and ends up in a hole, while trying to show off to her mum. She learns her lesson immediately, and takes time to observe her surroundings, even when her friend taunts her for being cautious. This proverb is especially relevant to young children, as many of them tend to act impulsively, so I think it’s a good proverb for them to learn.
Look Before You Leap
Pan Pan the panda sees his mum patching up a small tear in her clothes in A Stitch in Time Saves Nine, and when he sees the logic behind her actions, he applies it the next morning to a hole in his roof. For children who like to do last-minute work, this story might help convince them otherwise!
A Stitch in Time Saves Nine
My least favourite book was If You Play with Fire, You Get Burnt, in which Rackey the raccoon is fascinated by fire, and ends up burning his tail when he plays with some matches that he found. I thought that the second half of the story was too similar to the first part, and would have preferred it if Rackey got into some other kind of trouble by doing something dangerous. N doesn’t quite share my opinion, and likes reciting this proverb to me, but I’m not quite sure if he really understands the proverb.
If You Play with Fire, You Get Burnt
I like reading these books with N as there is indeed much wisdom in proverbs, and I hope that he will learn to apply what he has learnt from these stories. Hopefully, there will be more books in this WOW series, as they help to teach proverbs to young children in interesting ways.
Buy the Book Words of Wisdom Series on Armour Publishing Words of Wisdom Series is also available at Popular Bookstores
Check out the previous Friday Flips posts HERE. I’ve also created a photo album on Facebook with some other good reads, and will be updating it whenever I come across more books that we enjoy. Do pop by for a look HERE.
Disclaimer: We received a set of the ‘Words of Wisdom Series’ for the purpose of this review. All photos and opinions are, as always, our own.
PS. For some reason, the font used in these books seem a tad odd to me. I can’t quite figure out what it is, but it just looks unappealing. What do you think?