Tag Archives: individuality

Doggedly devoted

30 Aug

It has been whirlwind of a week. My classroom is set up enough to get me through the first week of school. Fiona and Lucy have readjusted to my return to work.

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I have hardly read or knit all week. There’s just been too much to do and I returned home exhausted each evening. My stack of library books needs some serious attention. But here is a pair of picture books that I loved.

Gaston, written by Kelly DiPucchio and illustrated by Christian Robinson, is about family.

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Gaston is not like his sisters. He sometimes exasperates his mother.

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When a chance encounter reveals that a mistake has been made, things look right. But they do not feel right. This book is about families, belonging, and square pegs in round holes.

David Ezra Stein’s I’m My Own Dog,  is another story about reversals.

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Narrated from the dog’s point of view, we learn about an independent dog who fetches his own slippers. He can do everything for himself, except scratch that one spot in the middle of his back. So, one day, he lets a human scratch it. That poor human follows him home and eventually, dog finds that the human is a good companion.

Kids will love both of these books and I think they’d inspire some very funny writing by kids. The could tell stories from their pets’ perspective, or from the perspective of an animal in a zoo or in the wild. They could write about interspecies families.  They could also right about how they are the Gaston in their family.

These are also just really great read alouds too, especially as school begins and sometimes, that can have kids and teachers feeling a little like fish out of water.

Be yourself: Standing out or blending in

4 Oct

Tigers. They are significant features in two new picture books about being yourself. They both remind me a little of Mo Willems’ Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed, which is my favorite Mo Willems book.

In Mr. Tiger Goes Wild, by Peter Brown, the situation is quite the opposite of Naked Mole Rat’s dilemma.

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All the animals wear clothes, walk on their hind legs, mind their manners and act, well, civilized. Mr. Tiger feels the need to cut loose a little.  He takes baby steps at first.

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Then he really runs wild.

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Well, haven’t we all felt a little constrained sometimes? Maybe you’ve never wanted to run naked on all fours, but I bet you get tired and just want to ROAR once in a while. I do.

And then we have the strange case of Maude Shrimpton in Lauren Child’s Maude The Not-So-Noticeable-Shrimpton.

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She is a quiet soul, surrounded by a flamboyant family. Can you see her? Second from the end.

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Instead of getting her the quiet, calm goldfish she wanted for her birthday, her family got her a tiger. Oh my!

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Let’s just say, it doesn’t go well for her flamboyant family members. Maude ends up OK because “Sometimes. Just sometimes, not being noticeable is the very best talent of all.”

It would be fun to read these to your class, then have them write a story about a person who ran wild or didn’t stand out.

Randy Ribay

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