In an effort to expose my kids to a world beyond The Pigeon, Elephant and Piggy, and Pete the Cat I am doing an author study of Leo Lionni. His books are old, and well worn, and not the type that kids would normally gravitate to on their own.
I started out showing several of his books and asked the kids what they noticed. (He likes mice. He writes about animals. His animals are crazy colored., etc) Then I showed them a video in which he explains why he writes about animals and we read Frederick and talked about why Leo says he is like Frederick.
The following week I read Tillie and the Wall until Tillie starts digging under the wall. At that point I stopped. I asked them to think about what Tillie might find on the other side of the wall and then gave them a paper to draw their prediction. I took pictures of their drawings and used an iPad app called Educreations to record their predictions. See them here and here. I’m not sure why the recordings are in reverse order, but the kids were pretty happy with the way they turned out otherwise.
Here are some of my favorite predictions (I know. I know! I spelled his name wrong.):
This week we are on to Alexander and the Wind up Mouse. I always stop and ask them if they would rather be disliked, but free to move on their own, like Alexander or loved by all but unable to move like Willie. I wish we had more time because I’d love to have them write about their choices. They are only in first grade but they have some strong and deep feelings on the subject. I love it when a story brings audible gasps and perfect silence as they wait to see what will happen. And then the cheers at the end.
Leo Lionni is a my new hot author. I know it won’t last, but I’m so glad the kids are learning that a book doesn’t have to be shiny to be good.