What Ship is Not a Ship?

by Harriet Ziefert , illustrated by Josée Masse

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Clever word groupings list three alike things and one that it is different. For example, there are living rooms, bedrooms, and bathrooms--but a mushroom is not a room! Picture clues will help kids figure out which "of these things is not like the other" and will begin to grasp the more fine-tuned nuances of word parts, roots, and meanings.

Editorial Review


Wordplay forms the basis for an intriguing guessing game as trios of similar things are followed by something different.

For very young readers and listeners who enjoy naming objects in pictures, this offers an interesting further step that will also challenge older brothers and sisters. Panda bears, brown bears and polar bears are all bears. “What bear is NOT a bear?” Turn the page to see a woolly bear caterpillar. Each pair of pages includes a similar question and answer as well as dictionary-style definitions of the puzzle words and answer. Just as the pattern begins to seem repetitious, there is a variation, just a question followed by the answer on a double-page spread. And so forth. The final, title spread is predictable: children demonstrating friendship. While some sets are easy, others may surprise even adults. “A hi-hat [cymbal] is NOT a hat!” Further puzzles are offered in a two-page conclusion; answers will be found on the publisher's website. Warning! This could become addictive. Masse’s stylized paintings include recognizable objects, a diverse collection of children and some appealing details (note the snowman outside the cutaway house and the cat on the bookcase).

The prolific Ziefert has provided a game that everyone can play. (Picture book. 4-9)

About The Author/Artist

Harriet Ziefert: Harriet Ziefert is the acclaimed author of over 300 books for children. As an educator, Harriet was among the founding pioneers in the development and teaching of what today is known as the Common CoreCurriculum.

Josée Masse: Josée Masse's earliest memories include time spent drawing and painting in her father's art studio. She received formal art training in Montreal, where she worked as a graphic designer for three years before beginning her career as an illustrator. Josée now lives in the countryside near Montreal.


For Ages 6-9

Guessing Game

Do you play the game in the back of the book? Here are some of our answers. Do you come up with other answers or word puzzles? Share them with us at

Q: What bird is NOT a bird?
A: whirlybird

Q: What ring is NOT a ring?
A: herring

Q: What worm is NOT a worm?
A: bookworm

Q: What bee is NOT a bee?
A: busy bee or Frisbee

Q: What hog is NOT a hog?
A: groundhog or sandhog

Q: What bed is NOT a bed?
A: flatbed or flowerbed

Q: What horn is NOT a horn?
A: hornet

Q: What cup is NOT a cup?
A: buttercup

Q: What bone is NOT a bone?
A: trombone

Q: What net is NOT a net?
A: hornet or internet

Q: What ball is NOT a ball?
A: Cinderella’s ball or oddball or screwball or inaugural ball


USA 17.99 | Canada 19.99

ISBN Number


On Sale Date