Dr. Wilda Reviews children’s book: Sir Silly

29 Sep

Moi received a complimentary copy of Sir Silly. Here is information about the book:

Title: Sir Silly

Author: David Dayan Fisher

Illustrator: Patricia Krebs

Publisher: Sunnyfields Publishing

ISBN: 978-1-484962-14-5

Here is information about the author and illustrator:


David (Sir Silly) is an actor, author, artist, and poet. From a young age he always wanted to play for a living and never grow up. He plays with characters and his voice in movies and on TV as an actor, with words in poems and stories in books, and with color and texture in his art.

Previous children’s books by David Dayan Fisher: Puppy School and Oakley and the Grump.

Patricia Krebs grew up in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where she obtained degrees in Fine Arts Education and in Contemporary Visual Arts.

Her works have been exhibited in galleries and cultural centers in South and North America and have been featured on books covers, CDs, in educational magazines, and in several award winning children’s picture books.

To know more about her, please visit www.patriciakrebs.com.ar

Here is a video:



books4yourkids.com has great information about how to judge if a book is appropriate for the reading age of your child:

What to Look for When Determining the Reading Level of a Book:

1) What the Publisher Says: On the back of the book, in the lower left or right corner, you will sometimes find a reading level indicator that will look something like this – RL2.2, most helpful, or this – RL ages 7 – 10, somewhat helpful.  RL 2.2 means that the reading level of the book is appropriate for children in the second month of their second grade school year.  Most of the books in the beginning reader series section are marked this way. However, these numbers and age ranges can be misleading.

*A note about reading levels: When I write reviews and assign reading levels to books, I am using my own experience as a parent, bookseller and reading tutor to determine what I think is the actual reading level of the book, despite what the publisher prints on the back. After writing several reviews I decided I should do a little fact checking. I came across an interesting article titled, Reading Levels of Children’s Books:  How Can You Tell? which lists, with links, several different academic ways to determine the reading level of a text. I was curious, so I checked out three different methods myself using a book from The Lighthouse Family Series by Cynthia Rylant that I considered to be a high first grade reading level. For the Flesch-Kincaid Index I typed 30 sentences from three different parts of the book into my computer and relied on Microsoft Word to tell me the RL using this index. The book was deemed a 6.4 RL. Next, I used the SMOG Readability Formula, which also involves a sample of 30 sentences and a count of three syllable words within the sentences and then a little multiplying, dividing and adding to come up with a RL. This time I came up with a 7th grade RL.  For my third experiment, I went to the AR Bookfinder website run by Renaissance Learning, a for-profit company that makes and sells comprehension tests to schools based on almost every kid’s book published. Renaissance Learning says that Rylant’s book is a 3.8 reading level. Lexile, which, as best I can tell is a non-profit company, gives the book a 700L, which translates to a third grade reading level as well. Lexile levels start at 0 and go up to 2000. Just to give you a sense of their system, Hamlet is a 1390, Nietzsche’s Birth of Tragedy is 1620 and Dr Seuss’s The Cat in the Hat is 260. Not really sure how helpful it is to know all this, especially when I ranked the book as a 1.5 RL, which leads me to this thought –

However you look at it, the RL of a book is only truly important when you have a new reader. Once your child is reading above a fourth grade level you need to worry more about content than RL – provided your children continue to choose books that are at or above their reading level. With new readers, you want to make sure your kids will be able to read what you give them. Books that are too challenging will cause them to loose interest in the book and possibly reading altogether. The best guideline I have found for determining if a book is the right reading level for your reader, besides page count, is the 5 Word method listed below.

2) Page Number:  For emerging chapter book readers, this is also a very useful indicator.  Most books written for a 2nd and 3rd grade reading level tend to be around 70 – 90 pages long. My article on Reading Levels, mentioned above, has a good breakdown of page counts and reading levels as well as links to reviews of books that are good examples of various reading levels.

3)  FIVE FINGER RULE: Have your child read a page from a book you are considering buying.  If there are more than five words on a page that your child struggles to read, the book is probably too difficult.  If your child really wants to read the book, you might consider reading it out loud together, taking turns with the chapters. Kids do need to be challenged to improve their skills, but you also don’t want to discourage them with something too difficult. It’s a very fine line to walk, which is why, for the first year or so of reading chapter books, it’s a good idea to have your child read a little bit of every book out loud to you. Also, when your children finish reading a book, ask them to tell you a little bit about the plot. Retention and comprehension are as important as decoding the words for beginning readers and you don’t want to overlook this.

4) Third Grade Reading Level Books: For some reason, this is the hardest reading level to match books and readers. The reading abilities and maturity levels of third graders vary greatly, which adds to the difficulty of finding the right book. By my own methods, I have about 70 books that I have reviewed that I consider to be a 3rd Grade Reading Level. I use page number and content as my guide, sticking with books in the 150 – 200 page range with subjects that are more playful than serious. Many graphic novels are rated “3rd Grade RL” on my site. Then there are other standout titles, remarkable both for their stories and short page number, like the Nathaniel Fludd series by RL LaFevers, the wonderful dog story, SHEEP by Valerie Hobbs, Susan Schade and Jon Buller’s superb Fog Mound Trilogy and Megan McDonald’s delightful Sisters Club series, to name a few.

Once you head into the realm of 4th, 5th and 6th grade reading level books, the page number continues to be a good indicator of reading level. 4th grade books will be around 200 pages, 5th and up, over 250 pages.  JK Rowling’s Harry Potter books have changed the world of children’s books in so many ways, including the standard number of pages in a young adult book. 300 pages used to be considered long for a YA book fifteen years ago.  Now no one thinks twice about publishing a 500 page book for 10 year olds. The kids who tend to read the longer books are the ones who are already bookworms.  However, as JK Rowling proved, there are lots of 10 year olds willing to read 500+ pages.   http://www.books4yourkids.com/2008/08/how-to-tell-real-reading-level-of-book.html

One of the concerns moi had was whether the reading level for some children might be appropriate, so there is a caution whether it is appropriate for some four-year-olds.

The biggest concern was about the values espoused in some of the poems. Although, the book is promoted as silly, there is a underlying theme that some parents might find inconsistent with their family values. There are some poems that are fairly dark for many children like Greedy Dan and Morality Tale. The poem about the Fat Cat seemed almost cruel and the Croc That Eats Bad Kids could be problematic for some children. Other poems were crude at points with Being a Child and the line “my farting bum.”  Some of the poems should be screened by parents of children who espouse values like those outlined by Kathryn Hatter in How to Teach Children About Obeying Rules:

Step 1

Provide a framework of basic rules for your child to follow. Basic rules might include listening when Mom and Dad talk, speaking respectfully, telling the truth, no running in the house and no hurting anyone else physically or emotionally. Present these rules in a kid-friendly manner so your children understand them. Invite questions as well and provide any necessary clarification.

Step 2

Explain to your child that rules are important for keeping people safe and happy. When everyone follows rules, people often don’t get hurt and people treat each other with kindness and respect. Tell your child that parents have an important job to keep children safe and that rules are there to make sure that no one does anything unsafe, dangerous or unkind. Explain that obeying rules is how your child can show trust and respect for parents.

Step 3

Institute natural consequences for misbehavior to teach children lessons. Natural consequences are often the best way to teach obedience. The cause and effect lesson is so natural that kids understand what happened and why it happened. If dirty clothes aren’t put where they belong in the hamper, they don’t get washed. This means the child won’t have her favorite skirt to wear when she wants it — a natural cause and effect lesson.

Step 4

Utilize consistent expectations about the rules you’ve instituted. Enforce the rules consistently, every time, so your children learn what you expect. This eliminates any uncertainty or doubt in kids’ minds about what is acceptable and unacceptable. They always know that talking disrespectfully to Mom or Dad is not tolerated.

Step 5

Listen if your child needs to communicate feelings about obeying in a specific situation so your child feels heard and valued. After listening, empathize with your child, and then gently prod her toward obedience. You might tell your child to clean up her toys and she tells you she doesn’t want to clean up. In this situation, you might say, “I know — you were having fun with your blocks. We need to pick up now, though, so we can have dinner. We’ll play again later.” Listening and understanding often helps a child move through the resistance toward obedience.

Step 6

Praise your child when she obeys you. Positive reinforcement of the behavior you want will motivate your child to repeat this obedience. People usually love hearing praise, which has a powerful effect on motivation.

Step 7

Set a proper example about obeying rules for your children to see. Don’t execute rolling stops through stop signs and think that sooner or later your kids won’t notice. Parental example is powerfully effective for motivating the behaviors you want. When your children witness you following rules and laws, they will understand the importance of obedience.


This is an amusing little book, but there is an underlying value system which is being taught. Whether all parents are comfortable with those values will depend upon the message they want to have for their children.

Many of the poems moi thought were clever and amusing  like The Dog and the Cat Said Meow. These are more in the Dr. Suess tradition.

Overall, moi recommends the book for older children and for families who after reviewing the material, decide the underlying message is in line with their values.


How to teach your child to share (ages 3 to 4)


5 Values You Should Teach Your Child by Age Five


Other reviews:

Book Review – Sir Silly: The World Where Words Play


Meet Sir Silly and Enter a World Where Words Play


Sir Silly – The World Where Words Play


Where information leads to Hope. © Dr. Wilda.com

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