A Tale of Two Beasts by Fiona Roberton is an amusing tale about a girl who finds a strange beast in the woods and brings him home to take care of him. It is also the tale of a beast who is minding his own business when he is accosted by a terrible beast that kidnaps him and subjects him to all sorts of torture. It is the same story, but told from two different perspectives! What a perfect book for discussing a narrator’s perspective, and of course to learn to compare and contrast characters.
I had a lot of fun considering favorite picture books as I considered the variety of ways one could organize a story. So many times in elementary school kids are given a prescription for writing and they must follow that. Writing is more fun when students are free to organize their thoughts or ideas creatively. Four picture books provide inspiration for young writers by demonstrating different book structures and encouraging students to organize a story uniquely.
When I thought about a persuasive mentor text, my first thought was to go with The Pigeon, Mo Willems’ crabby bird who demands things. I almost dismissed this Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus writing idea because I thought my kids will probably think it is childish, but went I with it anyway. I’m so glad I did! It was so silly that they completely enjoyed it. Mo Willems’ pigeon was was the perfect character for a persuasive writing lesson. You’d think there was a young audience for the book. Revisiting Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! with older kids allowed them to practice writing on a subject that was very humorous!
In the book In the Snow by Huy Voun Lee, Xiao Ming and his mother walk in newly fallen snow and his mother shows him Chinese characters by writing them in the snow. They discuss how the characters look like the items they are describing. Despite our lack of snow in Chicagoland this season,we made our own snow and practiced writing in the snow at our kitchen table, making English letters rather than Chinese characters as they did in the picture book.Continue Reading