#527 – Don’t Dangle Your Participle by Vanita Oelschlager & Mike DeSantis

dont dangle participle.

Don’t Dangle Your Participle

by Vanita Oelschlager & Mike DeSantis, illustrator

Vanita Books       5/01/2014


Age 4 to 8         24 pages


“Words and pictures show children what a dangling participle is all about. Young readers are shown an incorrect sentence that has in it a dangling participle. They are then taught how to make the sentence read correctly. It is done in a cute and humorous way. The dangling participle loses its way and the children learn how to help it find its way back to the correct spot in the sentence. This is followed by some comical examples of sentences with dangling participles and their funny illustrations, followed by an illustration of the corrected sentence. Young readers will have fun recognizing this problem in sentence construction and learning how to fix it.”


“What on earth is a participle and how does it dangle? Okay. Okay. Let’s start from the beginning.”


In Don’t Dangle Your Participle Vanita explains what a dangling participle is and explains how to fix the sentence so that the participle no longer dangles and mangles the sentence’s meaning. The participle comes before the noun to clarify it, but Vanita shows how easy it is for the modifier to get lost, ending up in the wrong place in the sentence. If you still don’t get it from that explanation, well, this is because explanations are easier to understand when Vanita adds in pictures to make her point.

And it works!

I know this because dangling participles (and dangling modifiers, but that is another story) have always confused me, BUT honest, after reading Don’t Dangle Your Participle, I understand what a dangling participle is and how to correct the sentence and send the raskly participle on its way to bother someone else’s sentence. Don’t Dangle Your Participle belongs in every school library and language arts classrooms. Using humorous illustrations, Vanita shows how the participle, when left to dangle, changes the meaning of the sentences often with disastrous consequences. Try this one.

  1. While riding his skateboard in the park, a deer almost ran into Lester.


What this sentence is saying is this:  When the deer rode his skateboard in the park, it almost ran into Lester. This is not what the sentence was supposed to mean. The dangling Participle—riding—changed the meaning of the sentence to something unintended and, as shown by the illustration, often something unintentionally funny. Vanita clearly shows kids how to fix these sentences.

Did you get the correct sentence? Maybe another illustration will help.


Correct: While riding his skateboard in the park, Lester was almost hit by a deer.

Vanita has a canny way of helping kids understand English and its many rules. She effectively uses humor, which can help a child remember a concept. The more senses involved in learning, the better the material will be remembered. Vanita easily explains a subject, breaking it down so that kids can get the concept quickly. Don’t Dangle Your Participle may be her best language arts book yet.

Don’t Dangle Your Participle can help teachers explain sentence structure in general and the dangling participle. Many of Vanita’s books make great adjunct texts, especially in a homeschooling situation. For those kids that like to learn, Vanita Books make learning loads of fun. Don’t Dangle Your Participle helps the teacher and student, and charitable organizations—all net profits go to select charities. Try one more. Are you ready?

  1. Melting in the hot sun, Ida rushed to finish her ice cream.


This sentence says, As Ida was melting, she rushed to finish her ice cream. The dangling participle—melting—changed the meaning of this sentence. The writer is trying to say, the ice cream was melting, but darn it, he dangled the participle!

I bet you figured out the correct sentence.  Just in case, here it is with a visual aide.


Correct: Melting in the hot sun, the ice cream had to be finished quickly

English is a difficult language. The rules are numerous and onerous. Kids need all the help they can get in understanding how to write English. Don’t Dangle Your Participle can be that help and should be available to every school child by way of the classroom and the library. Vanita explains the participle—a verb that acts like an adjective—and what happens when the participle no longer comes before the proper noun—it dangles. Her use of fun and funny illustrations help drive home her explanations. If I can finally understand these dangerous dangling participles, kids will be able to and probably faster. Use Don’t Dangle Your Participle can be used at home and at school to increase your child’s ability to write English properly. A skill that will help children their entire life.


Learn more about Don’t Dangle Your Participle HERE.

Buy Don’t Dangle Your Participle at AmazonB&NVanita Booksyour local bookstore.


Meet the author, Vanita Oelschlager at her website:  http://vanitabooks.com/MeetVanita.html

Meet the illustrator, Mike DeSantis at his website:  http://www.mikedesantis.com/picblog/

Find more wonderful Vanita Books at the publisher’s website:  http://vanitabooks.com/index.html


DON’T DANGLE YOUR PARTICIPLE. Text copyright © 2014 by Vanita Oelschlager. Illustrations copyright © 014 by Mike DeSantis. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Vanita Books, Akron, OH.



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dangle participle


15 thoughts on “#527 – Don’t Dangle Your Participle by Vanita Oelschlager & Mike DeSantis

    • Alyssia, when you do, please come back and let us know what you think about the given correct answer to the melting ice cream example. Read -2- reviews down to understand. Thanks for stopping by. With all the things you do, I am–happily–surprised to see you’re here! 😀


  1. Okay, even though the concept appeals to me as a grammar nitpicker, I don’t like the examples shown here. The second example, in particular, about the ice cream, turns a simple sentence into an awkwardly-phrased passive construction (“the ice cream had to be finished quickly by Ida”). The funny pictures to accompany the danglers is brilliant, but I’d rather show them how to get around the problem entirely than just create a new (possibly worse) sentence that is grammatically correct. Kids aren’t robots; surely we can entrust them with more creative ways to solve the problem (like, “Ida had to finish the ice cream, because it was melting in the sun”)?


    • I understand your point, but do not think this sentence is horribly bad: . “Melting in the hot sun, the ice cream had to be finished quickly.” Oops. I just realize I rewrote this sentence as the correct version, rather than the one give in the book. So, I guess I agree with you. Thanks. I appreciate your view, and think for this example, you are correct. 🙂


    • Vanita Books, which I forgot to add, sends all profits to wonderful 501 c organizations, has some of the better books for kids on writing and learning components of English. No surprise, Vanita was–actually still is–a teacher.


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