My choice for Perfect Picture Book Friday this week is a rollicking fun poem by children's author, David Elliott, called And Here's to You!
Illustrator: Randy Cecil
Publisher: Candlewick Press, 2004
Intended Audience: Ages 4 - 8
Topic/Theme: Animals, Stories in Rhyme, Environment
Synopsis: A rhyming, celebratory book of creatures from birds to fish to cows to people and everything in-between.
Opening: Here's to the birds! The Feather People! Birds! Here's to the who-o-o ones. The cock-a-doodle-doo ones. Their breasts as red as fire ones. The sitting on the wire ones. Oh, I love the birds!
Why I like this book: You already know this about me, but I love all animal books (unless they have sad endings) and this is just such a fun way to show appreciation for the creatures in our world, including the not-so-cute ones. I love the way the author refers to the birds as "The Feather People", the cows "The Giving People", the dogs "The Dreaming People" etc. The understated message of acceptance and tolerance is perfect. I also adore the bright crazy colours: pink and yellow skies, purple rivers, orange pastures.
Resources: I read this book to my class today and they were quite enchanted with it. Of course, they tended to fixate on the bear page ("The Hungry People") which led to a long discussion about how to react when faced with a wild bear. I googled their question and we found a great page:
1) How to Escape from a Bear . There's a humorous video at the bottom of the instructions.
2) We also talked a lot about why it's not okay to kill an animal just because you think it's scary. Of course, that got us talking about different kinds of hunting (i.e., trophy versus need).
3) We haven't done this yet, but a fun follow-up would be to have the kids choose an animal group and give it their own unique "people" name. Have them fill a page with a big bold bright painting and then attach their writing (click here to grab).
For example, they might choose spiders. "Here's to the Spiders! The Webby People! Spiders!"
"Here's to the Snakes! The Slithery People! Snakes!"
"Here's to the Elephants! The Trumpeting People! Elephants!"
You get the idea :) Enjoy!