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Hairy, Scary, Ordinary: What Is an Adjective?
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Hairy, Scary, Ordinary: What Is an Adjective? (Words are CATegorical)

4.03  ·  Rating Details  ·  359 Ratings  ·  60 Reviews
The best-selling Words Are Categorical series introduces young readers to different types of words through rhyming verse and illustrations of comical cartoon cats. Offering a lighthearted perspective, each title shows readers the fun and entertaining world of language.
Paperback, 32 pages
Published September 1st 2001 by First Avenue Editions (first published January 1st 1999)
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Apr 03, 2010 Dolly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
We really enjoy Brian P. Cleary's books. He makes learning fun, and this is a silly and humorous rhyming book about adjectives. His books really entertain children while teaching them basic concepts; our girls really like them. The illustrations by Jenya Prosmitsky are cartoony and cute, too - we love the cats.

We've read several of the books in the Words are CATegorical series and we've really enjoyed them. We will certainly look for more books by this author/illustrator team at our local librar
Karelle Royal
Awesome book to use when teaching about adjectives.
Funny and silly scenarios that will have students LOL.
Great illustrations & lots of rhyming words.
Teaches students how to use adjectives to describe various nouns.
Art: I did a mystery bag activity w/the students and they drew a picture of the item and used adjectives to describe the size, shape, color & texture of the object. The class had to guess what the mystery item was based on each group's description & drawing.
Jan 30, 2010 Nancy rated it really liked it
I am using this book to reteach adjectives to my class. It has cute illustrations and lots of adjectives.
Apr 17, 2011 Murlene rated it it was amazing
Shelves: funny, consept
Great book to talk about adjectives. Lots of pictures and very funny.
Apr 04, 2011 Jennifer rated it really liked it
This is a very fun book on adjectives! Students can begin to make predictions as to what the next adjective will be in this hilarious and colorful book. I love the way the author makes grammar fun! This book could easily be used to encourage students to make their writing "juicy." In my 1st grade class, adjectives were something the students were having a hard time with. This would make for a great activating strategy in showing students how FUN adjectives can be. Students could get in small gro ...more
Mar 08, 2010 Heather rated it really liked it
This book was a fun way to learn about adjectives. It's defined at the beginning then the rhyming text gives adjectives and there is a goofy picture to match. Each adjective is a different color (other than black) so it stands out and helps the child understand that it is the adjective.

The last two pages asks the child to find their own example of an adjective. All my boys (even the 3-yr-old) were able to find multiple examples. I guess the book worked!

We've read several books in this series and
Brittany Dalziel
Personal Reaction: This book is a really great way for young children to begin to learn what adjectives are. I liked how the color of the words are black throughout the sotry except for whenever an adjective was said, it was in a different color. I feel like it was unique to have a poem-like and rythmic style of wording in the book and I definitely want to remember this book (as well as the noun, verd, pronoun, etc. books) that were written by this author for when I am a teacher so that I can in ...more
Cute concept, wonderful illustrations. This book limits adjectives to descriptions, such as colors and size. It does a great job with this. I was hoping to find some more varied adjectives, including demonstrative and possessive adjectives as well, so I could get more use of the book in an intermediate grade classroom. For the primary grades it would be a wonderful resource. Most children will be entertained while reinforcing grammar. That's a good thing.
Auttumn C
Funny, funny, funny! This book made all of my students laugh but it also had an important lesson on adjectives! if you want a book that makes your students laugh but also makes grammar fun this is the book for you! A lesson that could be incorporated is have different objects from around the classroom or from your house for the students to describe with their 5 senses! The students can write a sentence about the object with adjectives or just make a list.
Gracie Larcher
May 04, 2015 Gracie Larcher rated it it was amazing
Personal Reaction: I thought Hairy, Scary, Ordinary: What is An Adjective? was an absolutely wonderful book. It was full of fun and bright illustrations, as well as lots of rhyming and at the same time it was very informative. It was an awesome refresher on what an adjective was.

Read Aloud: I think this book would be wonderful to use in the classroom when teaching what an adjective is. Hairy, Scary, Ordinary: What is An Adjective? teaches students what exactly an adjective is in a fun and creat
Kathryn Hogan
Apr 11, 2012 Kathryn Hogan rated it it was amazing
Great Book! It is a very easy read and very cute. It is very straight to the point and comprehendable. The words deoict the images exactly. I wish it would go a little more into detail about the tyes of adjectives. Other that than htat the book was wonderful and I would use when I was working with students and adjectives.
Sue Pak
Apr 19, 2012 Sue Pak rated it really liked it
I think this is a cute book to focus on adjectives.
I would recommend this for grades K-2nd. This book consists of a lot of examples of adjectives. Kids will find it easy to understand.
Kathleen Pine
This book describes what adjectives are and provides readers with several examples of them.

The story introduces readers to descriptive words using rhymes in a creative manner. The adjectives are printed in bold color so children can identify these key words easily, highlighting their purpose. The illustrations are of silly cartoon cats with big noses that display and demonstrate the various adjectives. This book is a fun and entertaining way to involve children the various use of language.

April Christensen
Cute and colorful

This was a Cute colorful book for first graders or younger to learn about adjectives. It puts adjectives in color to emphasize the adjectives in each sentence. My son enjoyed it.
Apr 14, 2014 Rachel rated it it was amazing
Shelves: lcrt
I will definitely use this book when teaching adjectives. It makes grammar fun by having great illustrations to show adjectives. Students can practice using adjectives using this book as a model.
Emmaus Public  Library
Sep 25, 2014 Emmaus Public Library rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Hairy, Scary, Ordinary is a fun look at what can be a difficult subject. Rhyming and presenting fun examples, this picture book can be used to introduce parts of speech to the very young.
Books Kids Like
Oct 17, 2013 Books Kids Like rated it really liked it
Cleary fills the book's pages with lots and lots of adjectives! On the page before the title page, there's a little cat pointing to a poster which defines the word adjective. Most people will miss this. He uses the words "describe" and "modify" one time each. I think the author could do more to define this part of speech within the text of the book. The illustrations and rhymes are cute and engaging, and the book serves as a good introduction to 1st and 2nd graders. However, I don't think it's t ...more
Nashiea Edmiston
Such a fun book about adjectives! Rhyming, humor, and great art! Would make a great resource when introducing adjectives.
Jan 24, 2015 Kimberly rated it it was amazing
Great vocabulary. Easy for kids to read and understand. Using it as a read-aloud for a lesson.
Full review at:

Teaching parts of speech is one of the hardest things to teach students, and it is even harder to teach them in a fun and interesting way. These books make it so that both of these things are possible. I like that each of the books focuses on only one part of speech instead of trying to teach multiple grammatical concepts thus making the chance of mastery much more likely. I also found the rhyming and silliness of the books just so endearin
Brianna Crall
Jan 12, 2015 Brianna Crall rated it really liked it
Fun book for teaching what an adjective is.
Oct 29, 2015 Ahmed added it

This is a great book for kindergarten and first graders as they begin to learn about adjectives a extend their writing. I don't know if the book is supposed to be this way, but when you open my book you have to turn the book around and page all the way to the back because the book is upside down...which is not an ordinary way a book is put together. There is no reference to it in the story, but it sure makes for good conversation.
A fun and lively way to introduce or reinforce adjectives. Got this idea from another review: I did a mystery bag activity w/the students and they drew a picture of the item and used adjectives to describe the size, shape, color & texture of the object. The class had to guess what the mystery item was based on each group's description & drawing.
Grades K-2.
Apr 19, 2012 Lbrown107 rated it really liked it
Hairy scary ordinary by cleary- Great Book! It is a very easy read and very cute. It is very straight to the point and comprehendable. The words deoict the images exactly. I wish it would go a little more into detail about the tyes of adjectives. Other that than htat the book was wonderful and I would use when I was working with students and adjectives.
Arielle Feist
I think this book, and the rest of Brian Cleary's books, are wonderful for teachers. They are very informative and fun at the same time. I would say it is more for third graders than first graders, reason being third graders will know more vocabulary and will have seen more adjectives and might be able to recognize them more than a first grader would.
Lisa the Librarian
Nov 23, 2009 Lisa the Librarian rated it liked it
I read this book as part of the Reading Passport program I developed for my school. It is from the Dewey 400's (Language)

A fun look at adjectives for children. Much more effective than a lecture on parts of speech. This is just one in a whole series of these books about various types of words.

Highly recommended for fun learning.
Jul 06, 2009 Jennifer rated it really liked it
This is my 5 1/2 yo son's introduction to parts of speech, and he really is enjoying all of Brian Cleary's books. I only did 4 stars for his books because I don't particularly like the drawings. They are captivating, but not really my cup of tea.

I'm pairing these with Schoolhouse Grammar Rock videos and Lynne Truss's books for some more fun.
Kim Barth
Sep 08, 2012 Kim Barth rated it really liked it
This book uses poetry to explain adjectives. It is part of a series that uses poetry to explain different parts of speech. After learning about adjectives in this unique way, students might enjoy writing their own poetry about adjectives. They could also use adjectives to write about themselves or their interests.
Tiffany Abston
Hairy, Scary, Ordinary is such a fun way to teach students about adjectives. Instead of listening to the teacher lecture, students can read this book which teaches them different adjective words that make any story better. Students will understand and learn adjectives quicker with this fun book.
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