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Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite
Has anyone told you that you’re phenomenal? Do you know what it means? That’s a big word and a bit of a tongue twister, too. When little Myles hears his mother use the word when talking on the phone, he wants to know what it means. Even he has trouble pronouncing it. His mother, ever patient, gives him some examples of how he is phenomenal. He concludes, “So ‘phe-no-me-nal’ is like being really, really, really, really awesome.” His mother agrees. If the word is comparable to ‘awesome’, which is easier to pronounce, why use a more difficult word like ‘phenomenal’? Ah, now there’s the catch. There are a lot of words in the English language which share similar meanings. Some words, like phenomenal, just sound a little more impressive. And that’s really kinda cool, don’t you think?
Kam Vivi Verde’s picture book story, You’re Phenomenal, is a great way to introduce young readers to some of the more difficult words in the English language. The plot weaves a cute story around little Myles's exploration of the meaning of phenomenal, coupling his discovery with an ordinary interaction with his mother, like getting ready for bed. His mother patiently explains the word’s meaning by providing examples, until the little boy realizes he, too, can use the word to describe his mother, which he does with pleasure.
Young readers want to be challenged with their word vocabulary skills and reading skills and this book is a gem for introducing them to one of the more difficult words. Not only that, but this is a feel-good story that will help young readers feel good about themselves, because, when you think of it, we’re all phenomenal. The end of the book includes some challenging questions to make young readers think more deeply about the word and its meaning and there are some interactive activities. Brilliantly presented.