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There Is a Bird On Your Head | Class #2, 2016

thereisabirdMo Willems has become THE master of easy readers. With pre-book work including Sesame Street and animation, he had the perfect training to create child- and teacher-friendly easy readers. I think he deserves every one of his many awards. What do you notice in this deceptively simple book? What does he do with simple shapes and lines in the art and very few words to create distinct characters? Would you share this book with children who are learning to read?

(Note to the Mo fans out there: I recommended a road trip to Amherst MA to visit the Eric Carle Museum. While you are out there, save some time to visit the R. Michelson Gallery in Northhampton where you can see — and buy — original Mo Willems sketches of Elephant and Piggie.)

Lolly Robinson

Lolly Robinson is a freelance designer and consultant with degrees in studio art and children’s literature. She is the former creative director for The Horn Book, Inc., and has taught children’s literature at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education. She has served on the Caldecott and Boston Globe-Horn Book Award committees and blogged for Calling Caldecott and Lolly's Classroom on this site.

 

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Ken Hagberg

This book was definitely my favorite! I’m probably biased though as I already had it practically memorized after having used it to teach ESL abroad a few years ago. It’s simple language flows well and tells an engaging story, but what I appreciated most were the pictures. When working with students with vastly different reading levels in a single class those who were farthest behind could still understand the story based on the illustrations alone. They also provide valuable context clues for figuring the words out.

Posted : Mar 31, 2016 08:16


Yumeng Fang

I was initially attracted to this book by its combination of colors and the cute drawings with facial expressions on the cover. The light yellow and the light blue were perfect in painting a friendly and harmless tone to a book. As I read through the book for the first time, I find myself kept turning the page, consciously amused by the story. And since each page is so simple with pictures and words, I would imagine it to be very easy for children to get the gist of each page - yet each drawing was complex enough to scrutize, particularly the facial expressions and gestures of the characters. I was reminded of the brief mentioning of the tactile experience of reading - I believe that the simple complexity on each page prompts the children to turn the page constantly - giving them a sense of satisfaction while being emerged in the reading experience!

Posted : Mar 31, 2016 07:20


Jason Brown

Sorry- accidentally submitted my prior post without rereading/editing it. I too enjoyed this easy read. While reading, I noticed a lot of opportunity for exaggerated expression. The first time I read it, I found myself reading quickly in a monotone voice (in my head). I then made myself reread it, as if I were reading to a young child. The book came alive so much more! It would be great fun to read this with several people- one could voice the elephant, another the pig, and another could be the “cheeping” of the birds. In addition, there’s room to practice counting (eggs, birds) which brings math into literacy time. Overall, a great simple read. I’d never even heard of this series until now!

Posted : Mar 30, 2016 03:09


Jason Brown

I too enjoyed this easy read. While, reading I noticed a lot of opportunity for exaggerated expression. The first time I read it, I found myself reading quickly in a monotone voice (in my head). I then made myself reread it, as if I were reading to a young child. The book came alive so much more! It would be great fun to read this with several people- one cold voice the elephant, another the pig, and another could be the "cheeping" of the birds. In addition, there's room to practice counting (eggs, birds) which brings math into literacy time. Overall, a great simple read. I'd never even heard of this series until now.

Posted : Mar 30, 2016 03:07


Carla Cevallos

I had the joy of reading this book to a first-grader a couple of days ago, and that experience made me understand Early Readers' aim in a totally different way! Indeed, even though that little boy is still learning to read, several of the features that people have been commenting about (the characters' facial expressions in the pictures, the words size emphasizing reactions, the easy flow of the story) helped him to remain very engaged and feel that he was participating of the reading process (because he understood, even when he's still struggling with decoding). Repetition was also a clue facilitating element, since soon enough he could guess what the next question would be because all of them followed a similar pattern. However, the inclusion of surprise and humor prevented the story from becoming repetitive, which I think might be a particular challenge for Early Readers books.

Posted : Mar 29, 2016 10:35


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