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Ling and Ting | Class #2, 2016

lin_ling-and-ting-together-in-all-weatherThis is one of two early readers (a.k.a. easy readers) for our second class. At the end of our last class, we talked about the difference between picture books and easy readers. How well do you think this book works in the early reader genre? Clearly it’s for somewhat more fluent readers than the Elephant and Piggy books. Do the situations match the age of the average new reader? What if a somewhat older child is learning to read at this level? Easy readers may not look as flashy as picture books, but in some ways they are more challenging to create. The author and illustrator must perform a balancing act to make the book inviting yet not intimidating. Imagine trying to create specific and engaging characters using very few words and clean, simple illustrations.

Lolly Robinson About Lolly Robinson

Lolly Robinson is the creative director for The Horn Book, Inc. She has degrees in studio art and children's literature and teaches children's literature at Harvard University's Graduate School of Education. She has served on the Caldecott and Boston Globe-Horn Book Award committees and blogs for Calling Caldecott and Lolly's Classroom on this site.

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  1. Annie Kleiman says:

    I thought the use of twins as the main characters was a clever way of working in repetition without it seeming overly clunky. However, having the girls’ names be so similar made it hard to keep track of who was who; even reading it as an adult I found myself flipping to a previous page to double check who had said what. But this might be what the author wanted, or at least didn’t care about because the two little girls are essentially interchangeable.

  2. Thanks so much, Lolly, for including “Ling & Ting” as part of your books discussion! I’m so interested in what everyone says.

    The girls being “essentially interchangeable” was quite far from my intention–in fact, quite the exact opposite. The reason why their names are so similar goes back to the first book, “Ling and Ting:Not Exactly the Same” where the theme is how people who may look alike (and even have similar names) they are not. It’s too bad their different personalities are not as evident as I thought they were. I realize now that I was working on the assumption that readers of this book would have read the others so I did not want repeat the emphasize of their differences in an obvious way…but as you have proven to me–it’s a bad assumption to make!

  3. Elissa Gershowitz Elissa Gershowitz says:

    Grace, FWIW (and having read and loved the other Ling & Ting books along with my boys, though I don’t think you necessarily have to), I feel like you accomplished exactly what you described in your comment. Ling is Ling, and acts like Ling; Ting is always Ting!

  4. Sophie Blumert says:

    What I really liked about this book was the way it was split up into six separate stories – I think that this is a great strategy for early readers, since it allows them the choice to read one, a few, or all of the stories, and they don’t necessarily have to be read in order. It allows the reader choice and agency, and this could be great for younger and older readers. I thought that the illustrations worked really well since they clearly depict what is happening in the text, and the bright colors are great for drawing the reader in. Overall I really enjoyed reading this book, and could see it being successful for multiple ages.

  5. Allison Bishop says:

    I feel like I mixed up Ling and Ting in the first story, but found less confusion after the thunderstorm story. I loved the logic in the lemonade story; how it perfectly captures the not-quite-logical logic of children in early elementary school.

  6. Addie Webb says:

    I loved the way the story and the girls’ activities were structured around the seasons. This structure gives the book a sense of predictability and familiarity that would be inviting as well as reassuring for early readers. The illustrations also provide the perfect amount of scaffolding for comprehension of the text while also being colorful and inviting. Especially in the first chapter about the thunderstorm, the illustrations of the girls hiding under a blanket and looking at each other with open mouths would allow developing readers to infer character feelings and support the decoding of words like “lightning”, “blanket”, “scared”, and “surprised”.

  7. Marty Ray says:

    I loved this book because of the individuality of the separate stories, yet a continuous narrative that was weaved through all of them. I felt that I could read each story on its own but the commonality and surprising connections to the other ones felt fun and I could see how a child would be astonished by something familiar from a previous story pop up again a few pages later – for instance Ling’s lost hat in story 3 that was found in story 5. I also found the jacket descriptions interesting – it mentions that Ling and Ting are not exactly the same and I found myself trying to discover what was different about them (beyond the opposite colored shoes and socks throughout the book!) The author’s description of herself was also fun to read – it followed the style of the stories, which all reminded me of Hemingway’s writing method, with its brief, understated staccato style.

  8. Kara Lawson says:

    Ling and Ting are popular characters with struggling readers in my third grade classroom! With many repeated words and lines and short, simple sentences without frills, the book Together in All Weather, primes students with many opportunities for reading success. They are hooked by the familiar and developmentally appropriate experiences explored throughout the book, like the fear of lightning, the challenge of making a lemonade stand, and telling a fib to get out of shoveling snow. Furthermore, early readers are excited to finally be reading a “chapter book,” as there are multiple short stories compiled within this bright and cheery text.

  9. Soujanya Ganig says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and understand why I would have loved it as a child as well. The characters are carefully crafted and somehow seem very close to the reader. While there is the main theme of seasons, there is fun and interesting storyline with every story which ties back to the larger narrative. I agree with Marty on the point he raises about connections in the story adding to the element of interest and curiosity in the book. While there are a lot of facts, the narrative pushes the reader towards higher order thinking tasks of drawing inferences.

  10. John Travis says:

    Thank you so much for the opportunity to read this book. While I know some comments referred to the challenges of telling the characters apart, I was struck by how well the book seems to create complexity out of simplicity. The use of repetition, form, and sight words made the reading experience feel appropriate for an early reader (though as a former high school math teacher, I am no expert on this) while still having complex literary elements of irony, other forms of humor, and rich opportunities for students to make textual inferences. For instance, in the first story, I felt an excellent question could be whether or not Ling and Ting were actually scared. A literal reading of the text might say no, but a more subtle reading of the text and use of the pictures may allow a student to infer that the girls wanted to appear brave in a scary situation. Thank you again!

  11. Robin Kane says:

    I love the point that John T. brings up about the opportunities in this book for talking to children about inferences and how the characters may be saying one thing, yet be feeling another. I really enjoyed this book for a number of reasons. First, I loved the illustrations which felt, for some reason, very nostalgic to me. I particularly liked the title page and they joy on Ting’s (?) face as she is jumping in the puddle. I’m guessing it’s Ting because she seemed to me the more impulsive one and Ling a bit more serious. I look forward to reading the other books in the series now, so I can get to know each girl better!
    This book is great for a wide range of readers, which makes it perfect for a classroom library The book’s repetitive text, engaging illustrations and humorous story lines make it accessible to many children at many different levels. I especially love that each short story is set up as a chapter. Some children will work to read one chapter, while another would enjoy the whole book at one sitting. Loved it!

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