Reviews for Wumbers

Booklist Reviews 2012 September #1
What are wumbers? According to the talking dog on the book jacket, they're "words cre8ed with numbers," "Wri10" and "illustr8ed" by the "cre8ors" of Duck! Rabbit! (2009). There's no story here, just a variety of situations (a family picnic, a tuba lesson, a penguin wedding) with brief conversations or commentary. Appearing on wide double-page spreads, the simple illustrations feature strong, energetic line drawings brightened with color washes. Kids old enough to find this sort of word-number play intriguing may not be drawn to a large-format picture book, but those who try it should enjoy the challenge of reading the numbers into the words. And although it's natural to suspect that the book was inspired by text-message shortcuts, Rosenthal and Lichtenheld set the record straight in the dedication, which begins "We dedic8 this book 2 William Steig, the cre8or of C D B!?" Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2013 Spring
Double-page spreads feature random characters speaking in "wumbers" ("Would you like some honey 2 swee10 your tea?" "Yes, that would be 1derful"). This might strike readers as more innovative if they weren t already replacing syllables with numbers in their text messages, but the humor of Lichtenheld's cartoon illustrations is likely to grab their attention. Exaggerated facial expressions offer picture clues that are even more fun to decode.

Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2012 #6
The two kids and a dog on the cover spell things out for us in dialogue bubbles: "It's a book!" "It's a game!" "It's words cre8ed with numbers!" So we're prepared to decode the linguistic volley that begins on the endpapers and continues on the title page, right into the book itself, as double-page spreads show conversations between random characters speaking in "wumbers" ("Would you like some honey 2 swee10 your tea?" "Yes, that would be 1derful.") This might strike young readers as more innovative if they weren't already replacing syllables with numbers in their own texting, but the humor of Lichtenheld's cartoon illustrations is likely to grab their attention. Exaggerated facial expressions deftly offer picture clues that will be even more fun to decode. There's no real story here -- each double-page spread is a self-contained scene, unrelated to the illustration that comes before or after it. In this respect, it's more like a riddle book, a fact that also may add to its child appeal (though once the riddles have been solved there might not be much here to inspire a return trip). kathleen t. horning Copyright 2012 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews 2012 June #2
For the unversed, a "wumber" is a word crea8ted using numbers. (Obviously!) Inspired by the master of wordplay himself, William Steig (C D B!, 1968, and C D C?, 1984), Rosenthal and Lichtenheld's carefully crafted wumbers certainly hold their own. The scope, ranging from simple and fun ("Would you like some honey 2 swee10 your tea?") to more difficult vocabulary ("4give me, 4 this is bel8ed, but it seems once again I have overinfla8ed") covers a wide range of readers. A true testament to phonological awareness--the ability to hear the smaller sounds that make up words--if ever there was one, the wumbers also encourage kids to slow down and think. If mumbling repeatedly out loud does not yield the answer right away, Lichtenheld's bright pen-and-pastel illustrations will help readers spell it out. In this day and age of text-message shorthand, some linguists may declare this book a disaster (Steig never had to contend with such moral panic), but fear not; the clever wumbers are more likely to intrigue and stimulate, not destroy a child's ability to spell. Let's just hope there are no h8trs. (Picture book. 5-8) Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2012 May #2

Acceler8 your thinking! Rosenthal and Lichtenheld, the team behind Duck! Rabbit! and others, continue their successful collaboration with a collection of word puns that substitute numbers for letters, text-message style (the book is dedicated to William Steig, "the cr8or of C D B!"). Throughout, characters have conversations that readers of all skill levels will delight in decoding. One spread imagines a tuba lesson: "Tigh10 your mouth... then 4ce out the air," the teacher tells her student. Lichtenheld stands ready with a visual punch line: "2t!" the girl blasts, as her hair frizzes with the effort and the tuba vibrates alarmingly. Despite the goofy premise, Rosenthal takes her task seriously. The puns aren't labored, and some are entertainingly complex. Kids will pick up new vocabulary (a spread of a diamond-adorned octopus is accompanied by the observation "Those sure are some orn8 10tacles"), and they'll enjoy the cultural references (two kids comment on the bird inked on a bearded man's bicep: "Cool! Look at his 2can ta2!"). Don't worry about reading aloud: wumbers are easy to decode if you pay a10tion. Ages 4-up. Agent: Amy Rennert, the Amy Rennert Agency. (July)

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School Library Journal Reviews 2012 August

K-Gr 2--Rosenthal and Lichtenheld team up again to craft an inspired picture book that encourages cre8tive wordplay. Starting on the endpapers with questions in speech bubbles ("What do you think you'll be like as 18ager?") and continuing through a series of conversations in double-page vignettes, Rosenthal cleverly combines words and numbers ("wumbers") that challenge readers to use their number recognition and phonological skills. Once children grasp the "ba6," they will have a "s2pendous" time figuring out the captions. From a boy and girl enjoying their "10ts" to the smiling child who is "el8ed" because he lost his first "2th," Lichenheld's ink and pastel coloring-book-style drawings supply visual clues to decoding the text. Wumbers takes the concept behind text-messaging shorthand and repurposes it into an interactive read-aloud that both kids and grown-ups can enjoy.--Martha Simpson, Stratford Library Association, CT

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