Spell Well

The Spelling Bee Before Recess

  • Targeted Audience: Pre-School, Lower & Upper Elementary (Ages 5-9)
  • Genre: Fiction Picture Book
  • Author: Deborah Lee Rose
  • Illustrator: Carey F. Armstrong-Ellis
  • Publisher: Abrams Books
  • Publication Date: August 6, 2013
  • Binding: High Quality Hard Cover
  • Dimensions: 10.5″ x 10″
  • Printing: Full Color
  • Length:32 Pages
  • Retail: $15.95
  • ISBN-10: 978-1419708473

“The students were squirming
but none made a sound,
as the spelling bee entered
its championship round.

The Quintessential, Nerve-racking, Awesome Spelling Bee Portrayed at its Finest

Told in perfect rhyme from the point of view of “Slugger,” one of the three finalists in the school’s annual spelling bee, this year’s competition is really tough. Round after round, not a word is missed, and it’s one minute until recess without a winner. When it comes down to Slugger and one other student who both keep spelling word after word correctly, the judges throw them a curve ball no one saw coming. So who’s going to win?


© Copyright Image courtesy of Abrams Books

“Word after word-
We were in the ninth inning.
One minute to recess,

What You’re Going to Love About This Book

I’m generally not a big fan of rhyming books, but this story is so catchy and humorous, I found myself wanting to read more after it ended. Author Deborah Lee Rose uses her wit to cleverly capture the emotions of an elementary school aged boy who really wants to be the school Spelling Bee Champion. Because his nickname is “Slugger,” Deborah compares the Bee to a baseball game with wonderful humor and suspense. The creative and colorful illustrations by Carey F. Armstrong-Ellis are an absolutely delightful addition to the story. You will laugh out loud with your kids when you read this book together. It’s so charming and entertaining while at the same time delivers a terrific educational message.

What This Book Teaches

The Spelling Bee Before Recess encourages children to be well prepared when they really want to succeed at something. It shows children that there’s a lot of competition out there, but they shouldn’t take themselves too seriously. And even more important it inspires them to want to read more so they they can learn to spell well!

About the Author Deborah_Rose.1

After graduating from Cornell University, Deborah Lee Rose helped create the Planet Earth series for Time-Life Books. Since then she has penned numerous children’s books and has won various awards for her work. A few of her titles include The Twelve Days of Kindergarten, Into the A, B, Sea, which has sold more than 250,000 copies and One Nighttime Sea. Deborah also helped to create Howtosmile.org, the NSF-funded online collection of 3,600 STEM activities for all ages. She was also one of the first National Science Writing Fellows of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Deborah lives with her family in the San Francisco Bay Area. Read my review of Debora’s wonderful book, Jimmy the Joey here.

cfae3About the Illustrator

Carey F. Armstrong-Ellis has a backround in biology and zoology. She started her art career fiber art, which she still loves to do. In addition she uses her artistic talents to illustrate children’s books including Ten Creepy Monsters, several titles in the Twelve Days series and other books. She lives with her family in Cape Neddick, Maine.

Further Learning

  1. Read the word list in the back of the book and the Author’s Note too, to learn about why Deborah chose the words she used in the book.
  2. Create your own spelling bee in home or in the classroom.
  3. Watch the Scripps National Spelling Bee with your child every year in May.





Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *