Friday, May 24, 2013

Bananas in my Ears

Title: Bananas in my Ears: A Collection of Nonsense Stories, Poems, Riddles, & Rhymes
Author: Michael Rosen
Illustrator: Quentin Blake
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Publication Date: August, 2012
Genre/Format: Poetry & Short Story/Anthology
Goodreads SummaryA charming collection featuring free verse stories, rhymes, and poems from the renowned Michael Rosen and quirky artwork by Quentin Blake.

From the chaos of breakfast to the calm of bedtime, this whimsical collection, pairing two former British Laureates, is full of delightful moments. Explore the pleasures of acting silly and the pains of feeling ill, the camaraderie of siblings and strange goings-on at the beach. . . . All this and a trip on a flying bed, too!
What I Think: This collection of 'nonsense' stories, poems, riddles, & rhymes is actually much deeper than it seemed at first read. I'll be honest, I was not impressed with the first story so I did not have high expectations for the rest of the book; however, the second poem hit the ball out of the park and sucked me in.
      The book is broken into four sections (Breakfast, Seaside, Doctor, Bedtime) and within each section Rosen includes a variety of stories and poems. There are a few that weave their way throughout the book- "What If..." and "Nat and Anna".
     I, personally, loved the "What If..." poems the best because I think it is a wonderful way to have children not only think about amazing possibilities, but also is an easy format to duplicate to help students write their own poems. It would be so much fun to have students write their own "What If..." poems based on the unit's theme. It could also be pushed a little bit farther- it'd be a great way to discuss essential questions or to do an anticipation guide.
     The "Nat and Anna" stories also allow for a chance to discuss narrative elements as, with 4 short stories, you have quite a nice collection of stories about these two siblings. The characters have quite a dynamic relationship which could definitely lead to some great characterization conversations.
     One of the most surprising aspects, for me, were the more serious poems that are scattered throughout the book that are filled with imagery and alliteration:
"Over my toes
the soft sea wash..." (p. 25)
"Outside after dark,
trains hum and traffic lights wink,
after dark, after dark." (p. 65)
Read Together: Grades K to 8
Read Alone: Grades 3 to 8
Read With: Revolting Rhymes and other books by Roald Dahl, Funny Stories by Michael Rosen, Shel Silverstein, Jack Prelutsky
Snatch of Text: "What if
a piece of toast turned into a piece of ghost
just as you were eating it
and you thought you were going to sink your
teeth into a lovely crunchy piece of hot toast
and butter and instead this cold wet feeling
jumps into your  mouth
right down into your stomach..." (p. 6)
Mentor Text for: Poetry, Short Stories, Rhyming, Humor, Imagery, Characterization, Alliteration (p. 25), Cause/Effect (p. 16)
Writing Prompts: Using Michael Rosen's format of writing "What If..." poems, write your own "What If..." poem and accompany your poetry with illustrations; Write a "Nat and Anna" adventure in a new situation. Make sure to keep their characterization the same as the author originally wrote them.; Finish the "What Happens Next?" poem with the effects that would happen based on the illustrations.
Topics Covered: Breakfast, Possibilities, Siblings, Seaside, Illnesses, Doctors, Dark, Bedtime, Fun
I *heart* It:
**Thank you to Candlewick for providing a copy for review**

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