The War Between the Vowels and the Consonants (1999), written by Priscilla Turner, and illustrated by Whitney Turner, is a fantastic little book. My students loved it. They even acted it out. (It was their idea.)
My students may not be up to par in academics, but they are way above par on many other things. What they lack in writing, and/or reading skills, they make up for in verbal skills and enthusiasm. They are very verbal in a good way. They are also very observant. They notice everything. When I noticed that they were excellent and observant conversationalists, I decided to play up those strengths. That is how we came to have a very good conversation about this book.
I originally purchased this book because a couple of my students were struggling with differentiating vowels and consonants. I found this book and thought that it was the perfect vehicle for that. I liked this book for obvious reasons. Firstly, it’s what KRS-1 of BDP fame would call edutainment. It’s education mixed with entertainment. When I read this book, I knew that it definitely fit the bill. Secondly, as there are distinct parts, the book lent itself to being acted out, as my students did during one of my university supervisor’s visit, and she loved it; I came out looking like a star.
First I read the book, then (once Man-Man suggested acting it out) I assigned parts. If you will notice the red and blue planes on the front cover of the book, you’ll notice that one is a vowel (E), and one is a consonant (T). I didn’t notice when I was reading it, but Man-Man did. He noticed everything.
Synopsis: Ever since anyone could remember, there has been contention between the Vowels & the Consonants. Every Consonant knows that you never trust a Vowel. And every Vowel knows that you don’t trust a Consonant.
“Who could imagine what horrible things a gang of roving Consonants might do to an unsuspecting Vowel?”says a consonant.
The Vowels tended to be smug and stuck up. After all, there were fewer of them. Surely, they felt, that made them better than the common Consonants.
For their part, the Consonants thought all Vowels were sissies. “Those silly Vowel sounds!”
“AAAA and UUUU–what sort of noise is that for a letter to make!” Consonants preferred their own sounds: PRGHT! or SSSSP! Good, strong, snapping noises.
Most of the time, the Consonants and the Vowels just disliked and distrusted each other. But one day…
A taunt was answered with a rock…
The rock with a spear…
The spear with a catapult…
The catapult with…
So began the historic & epic war between the Vowels & the Consonants. They continue to fight until a third party, a mutual enemy, comes into the picture. What happens??? Do they make up? Do they bridge the great divide between Vowels & Consonants? Does the mutual enemy divide them even further???
Well, I guess you’re just going to have to read it and find out for yourself. Trust me, you will not be disappointed. A couple of weeks ago, I reviewed its’ companion book Among the Odds and Evens. They can both be used to teach their individual concepts. Do yourself a favor and pick it up!
While this book is made for 2nd grade and up, I’d say that younger children would still enjoy the book because of the cute little illustration. Those who will appreciate this book more are those who know or at least have a cursory understanding of what vowels and consonants are.