Author: Megan McDonald
Illustrator: Joung Un Kim
Publication Date: 2008
Genre/Format: Fiction/Picture Book
Summary: What happens when Hen overhears Cow telling Pig that Dog has a thorn in his side and runs around telling everyone on the farm? Pretty soon the whole barnyard is talking about unfounded gossip until Hen gets to the bottom of everything!
What I Think: As a teacher of students who are hard-of-hearing, I am consistently talking about how important it is to be a good communicator by asking for repetition or paraphrasing to check comprehension. This book is a great example of how easy it is to mistake what someone has said. It's an important lesson for any kid to learn how dangerous gossip can be, especially when you mistake what a person has said. I love this to generate a discussion about being a good communicator and gossip. Playing the game "telephone" could easily coordinate with this book!
Another idea for expanding on this book, would be to talk about how we treat others in our culture. I work with lots of students who are learning English as a second language. We have a huge population of hispanic students in our district so we have several bilingual and ESL classes. I'm glad that they are proud of their culture and that they use Spanish with each other, but I think it is equally important for students to be taught that it's inappropriate to speak Spanish to each other if there is someone, especially a teacher, but possibly another student, around who doesn't speak Spanish. I think it's rude to not include the person in the conversation and it doesn't feel good to be the person who doesn't know what is going on. I also think they need to be aware that they cannot always assume that a person doesn't speak Spanish. There have been times when I'm in a classroom and students to realize I can speak Spanish and know exactly what they are saying! I, personally, feel that this is a conversation teachers or parents should have with students who speak multiple languages.
Read Together: K - 5
Read Alone: 3 - 5
Read With: Books about good behavior
Snatch of Text:
"Hen was scratching for bugs
in the barnyard,
by the fence.
"Psst. Psst. Psst."
something to Cow.
Hen loved gossip!"Reading Strategies to Practice: Activating Background Knowledge, Making Connections, Asking Questions, Inferences
Writing Strategies to Practice: Personal Narrative
Writing Prompts: Write about a time when you said something untrue about someone or something OR when someone said something untrue about you. Persuade someone to stop gossiping.
Topics Covered: Feelings, Friendship, Gossip, Thoughtfulness, Culture
Translated to Spanish: No