Friday, February 10, 2012

Won Ton: A Cat Tale Told in Haiku

Title: Won Ton: A Cat Tale Told in Haiku
Author: Lee Wardlaw
Illustrator: Eugene Yelchin 
Publisher: Holt, Henry and Company, Inc.  
Publication Date: February 2011 
Genre/Format: Poetry/Picture Book 
GoodReads Summary: Told in haiku, Won Ton is the story of how one lovable shelter cat finds a new home... [A] beguiling tale of a wary shelter cat and the boy who takes him home. Sometimes funny, sometimes touching, this adoption story, told entirely in haiku, is unforgettable. (Taken from Goodreads 2/8/12)
What Jen Thinks: I'm actually not a cat person but I think Won Ton is so cute. My husband has a shelter cat who he loves like a brother so I have an extra-soft spot in my heart for shelter cats and shelter animals, in general.  This book really reminded me of Dogku by Andrew Clements. I love how this book has more cat attitude in it. 
     I really like that this is a book that tells a story through a collection of haikus. This book and Dogku seem to make poetry accessible to kids because most students are familiar with picture books. They can follow a story in a picture book but then it's easy to point out that each page has its own little poem on it. It's always fun to stop and clap out the syllables to check and make sure the author really did get all the syllables right in their haikus. For younger kids this is a perfect phonemic awareness activity because they need to listen and break down the lines into syllables. Bonus.
What Kellee Thinks: Now, I am a cat person.  I should probably start with that, because it totally swayed my outlook on this book.  This book touched my heart. Anyone who is a cat person will connect immediately with Won Ton and love him instantly.  The way his story was told through haikus was touching and brilliant. Wardlaw obviously knows her cats because each poem is reminiscent of cats' personalities. And on top of that, it is a ELA/Reading teacher's dream, because it is a perfect mentor text for haikus! A two-fer! I can definitely see why Won Ton won a Nerdy. 
Read Together: Grades Pre-K - 8 
Read Alone: Grades 1 - 8 
Read With: Dogku by Andrew Clements, other samples of haikus 
Snatch of Text:
The Car Ride
Wait - let me back in!

Hel-looo. I'm waiting.
Put down that pesky pencil
and fetch the catnip.

I explained it loud
and clear. What part of "meow"
don't you understand? 
Reading Strategies to Practice: Activating Background Knowledge, Making Connections, Making Inferences
Writing Strategies to Practice: Poetry, Haiku, Point of View, Voice
Writing Prompts:  Write a story from the point of view of an animal. Now transfer your story into a set of haikus.
Topics Covered: Pet Adoption, Identity
Jen *hearts* it

Kellee *hearts* it 

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