Educational Review of
Maxwell Miller’s Book of Dreams
Written and Illustrated by Luke Saliba
Boxing Day is here and I have a chance to relax and unwind from yesterday’s madness. While relaxing I spot a Christmas present from my brother to one of my two boys (aged 5 and 6). It is a Children’s Picture Book by a local author who lives near my brother, Hold Tight by Luke Saliba. The main theme of Hold Tight is to let kids know to hold tight to their dreams which both the author and my brother wanted to pass on to my kids.
Today, I had the chance to read the book to my son, Tommy aged 5 and because my mind didn’t give myself a break over Christmas, while reading the book I also did a quick review of the educational benefits of Hold Tight.
Obviously the theme of holding tight to your dreams and the hashtag #remindtheworldtodream is not only for children. As an aspiring author myself, the theme was a great reminder of my dream of becoming published. I would have loved a bookmark stating, ‘hold tight to your dreams, no matter how big or small’ to stick on my pin board as a reminder, after reading this book.
English Activities based on Hold Tight.
Hold Tight – Maxwell Miller’s book of Dreams captures children’s imagination. When reading and writing imagination is a key ingredient. Most children do not need to be taught to imagine, however, if you have a child with Autism sometimes they need to be introduced to imagining and the idea of make believe. And what better than sharks in a bathtub or raining chocolate tarts. While reading children need to use their imagination for visualisation. When children are at school fictional stories are a part of the writing process. This book would be a great story starter for many children who have difficulty imagining or as a teacher to use as a whole class story writing idea.
Fact or Fiction
Hold Tight covers dreams which children can have while sleeping such as riding a car to Mars and dreams you can work hard to achieve, such as being an explorer. It is a good chance to discuss with your child the difference between fact and fiction. Discuss night dreaming and nightmares and how they are not real although raining chocolate tarts would be great. And then look at the dreams you create during the day which if you hold tight you can work hard to achieve.
The Golden Words for those who are not regulars of my AbcJenny sites are the 12 most used words in the English language. They are, ‘and, I, is, it, in, was, the, that, of, a, be, to’. Throughout Hold Tight there are plenty of opportunities to share read and for children to find and read the Golden Words. My only negative about the book would be the font the author chose. Using all capitals does confuse children who are learning the basics of letters and words. However, the age range of the book does not focus on just pre-readers/early readers and caters up to adults. If you are reading the book with a pre-reader/early reader you could make a game of matching the lower case Golden Words with the upper case words you find in the book.
Rhyming text is used in sections of the book, with illustrations helping pre-reading children predict what the word will be. Rhyming is a skill children need for spelling and to help with their reading. If they know the word cars and see mars children can use their understanding of rhyme to work out how to read the word.
Hold Tight could also introduce suffixes to children who are at that stage. If you focus on the base word dream, Hold Tight, uses dreams, dreamer, and dreamed. Children can look at the different meanings of words once the suffix is added and to ensure they read the whole word. It is a good reminder to look for suffixes when reading any book as it can alter the meaning of the base word.
Write to author or main character
Reading this book you can imagine the authors desire to help children dream and try to achieve their dreams by holding tight. Without knowing the author I am sure he would love to receive letters from children of their dreams, whether it is what they want to be when they grow up to smaller dreams of playing well in their next sporting match.
Not only can you encourage children to write to the author but also the main character Maxwell Miller. Let the kids ask whatever questions they like. It is always surprising to hear where their minds wander to.
If your child is not at the writing stage, drawing a picture is just as important as it shows the child’s understanding of what the book is about. This is the beginning of reading comprehension skills.
Review by Tommy (aged 5)
Hold Tight is a crazy, cool book. I thought the book was going to be about a boy going to a different world and they say ‘hold tight’ every time they go in the machine on the front cover.
The best part was the pirate page, I would love to go surfing in a pirate ship on the big waves. I would open my mouth and let the chocolate drop and hit me on the head. My dream is to be a scientist.
To purchase a copy or find out more about the author and his books click on the link to his author page.
Educational Review provided by Jenny Graham founder of AbcJenny.
If you are an author and would like an Educational Review of your Picture Story Book or early chapter book please email me at abcJennyG@hotmail.com
I also provide literacy worksheets based on books for a cost. These worksheets can be linked to the Australian National Curriculum.
We hope you enjoyed the book as much as Tommy and I did.