Author: Peter Brown
Illustrator: Peter Brown
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: September 3, 2013
Genre/Format: Fiction/Picture Book
GoodReads Summary: Are you bored with being so proper?
Do you want to have more fun?
Mr. Tiger knows exactly how you feel. So he decides to go wild.
But does he go too far? From Caldecott Honor artist Peter Brown comes a story that shows there's a time and place for everything...even going wild.
What I Think: Today, I picked a maybe untraditional picture book for a social studies mentor text but I love this book so much and the more I thought about it, the more I realized how it does really talk about people and society and culture and to me, that's social studies.
First of all, this book is great to read with students to talk about being yourself and following your own dreams. One of the classes I took this summer focused on young adolescent development. We looked closely at Erik Erickson's theory of psychosocial development. The identity versus role confusion stage is so critical and it's important that we help students navigate this stage. I love that Mr. Tiger recognize how he might like to change things up and then he follows his dreams. Reading Mr. Tiger Goes Wild with this lens would be great for students of any age.
It's also a book that I think relates to trying something new or different. Earlier this year a friend told me about the diffusion of innovations which is a theory that attempts to look at how, why and at what rate new ideas and technologies spread through cultures. It's a neat little graph that shows different people: innovators, early adopters, early majority, late majority, laggards. Everett Rogers wrote a whole book on this theory in the 60's entitled Diffusion of Innovation. I had never heard of the diffusion of innovations but it fascinates me. My department last year focused on supporting adult learners and encouraging adult learners to adopt the growth mindset. This helped me see how not everyone is going to jump on board with a new idea, but I believe that if you get a few people going and modeling something new or different and talking about it (especially why and why it's worthy of trying) than others will hopefully follow along. Sometimes being that innovator or an early adopter isn't always easy so I loved reading this book and seeing that even though it wasn't easy for Mr. Tiger to make the decision to go wild, he believed in himself and trusted his instincts and went for it. How many times in life to we try something new? Hopefully, a lot of times! Stretching ourselves is how we grow and as lifelong learners, we should be pushing ourselves to grow. Mr. Tiger could be the growth mindset mascot! Just keep him in mind when you try something new...and share his story with students and talk to them about trying something new. It can be scary but it can also be invigorating. In the end, Mr. Tiger is a leader. I love it!
Besides the themes in this book, I love it as a mentor text to talk about dialogue. We get to hear about Mr. Tiger from the narrator but to show what the other characters in the book think about Mr. Tiger, Peter uses the other characters' thought or talking bubbles to show us what they think of Mr. Tiger. Dialogue is super powerful in writing because it lets readers into the heads of other characters. While readers may have a limited point-of-view or even a broad point-of-view, hearing what a character says lets readers see how others perceive the main character(s). In this case it's completely brilliant because we easily connect with Mr. Tiger but it's imperative to his story that we are reminded how his friends and others see him. Through their eyes, we realize how wild Mr. Tiger truly goes.
I have two more things to point out before my final thought about Mr. Tiger Goes Wild. One is that the artwork is awesome. It's just awesome. I've enjoyed Peter Brown's style in his other books, but the colors and the shapes in this book are great. He uses color and shapes/lines to really show the different between Mr. Tiger's proper life and his wild life. It's fantastic. And, related to the artwork, this book has movement. There are a few moments when my kids and I just looked at the pictures and laughed and roared. When I think about the funny parts, it's because something funny is happening on the pages but each of those moments seem to come to life in my head because the illustrations are full of inferences that come to life as you read. I'm not sure how to articulate this well, but when you read it, I think you'll see how it just seems like Mr. Tiger is running all around through the book. Again, it's simply awesome.
Here's my final thought: Mr. Tiger Goes Wild is Caldecott worthy. I said it, and you heard it here! I'm not usually one to get caught up in the awards or in anticipating what books will win awards but I honestly believe Mr. Tiger Goes Wild deserves it this year. Bravo, Mr. Brown!
Read Together: Grades Pre-K - 12
Read Alone: Grades Pre-K - 12
Read With: Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett, The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon by Patty Lovell, It's a Book by Lane Smith
Snatch of Text:
"He wanted to loosen up.
He wanted to have fun.
He wanted to be...wild."Reading Strategies to Practice: Activating Background Knowledge, Making Connections, Asking Questions, Making Inferences, Visualizing
Writing Strategies to Practice: Personal Narrative, Expository, Persuasive, Anaphora, Dialogue, Personification
Writing Prompts: Write about a time in your life when you did something different from everyone else, be sure to include how you felt and how you dealt with that feeling. Choose something you feel strongly about - whether it's a feeling or a belief or a thing people should do or try - and explain why you support it. Take that a step further and create a persuasive artifact that encourages others to try something new - make sure to include evidence of why they should try this.
Topics Covered: Instincts, Trust, Belief, Adversity, Leadership, Culture, Integration - Social Studies
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