Author: Mac Barnett
Illustrator: Jen Corace
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Publication Date: September 9th, 2014
Genre/Format: Fiction/Picture Book
GoodReads Summary: It's time to fly home for dinner! In this witty picture book from award-winning and bestselling author Mac Barnett, a mother bird gives the bird next to her a message for little Peter. But passing messages on a telephone line isn't as simple as it sounds. Each subsequent bird understands Mama's message according to its own very particular hobbies. Will Peter ever get home for dinner? This uproarious interpretation of a favorite children's game will get everyone giggling and is sure to lead to countless rereads.
What I Think: I love silly books from Mac Barnett! This one is a great one. As I read, my kids giggled more and more. Basically, this book is a game of Telephone but the illustrations are wonderful and it's perfect that the birds are all lined up on a telephone wire. Peter's mom just wants him to come home the the message gets a little warped along the way.
This book would be a great opportunity to practice visualizing because the image doesn't really show what they are talking about in the text. It gives the reader an opportunity to imagine their own vision of what's each bird is talking about. I also think this is a great opportunity to talk about how everyone interprets everything differently. As receivers of information, we have our own experiences that filter what we hear, see, read, etc. This makes the case for being descriptive and clear in our writing so that we help the reader visualize what we hope to convey. Reading and writing go together. The author's job is to help the reader understand the words he or she puts together.
Obviously the reader is going to interpret information based on his or her background knowledge but it's the job of the writer to give the reader enough information to do this. I absolutely love having this conversation with students. When you think of writers and their craft and the intention they put into writing, it brings a new conversation to looking at a text. Likewise, this blends over into writing because it's important to be conscious of the choices you make as a writer. At NCTE in November, a friend asked me about craft moves and what that terms means. I hadn't heard it before but was able to track it back to Katie Wood Ray. She discusses craft move in her books Wondrous Words and Study Driven. Writers have moves - just like dancers and athletes and chess players have and make moves - and writers make these craft moves intentionally, with specific purpose to help the reader. This text would be a great book to start this conversation.
Read Together: K - 3
Read Alone: K - 3
Read With: Count the Monkeys by Mac Barnett, The Right Word by Jen Bryant, Little Red Writing by Jen Holub
Snatch of Text:"Tell Peter: Fly home for dinner."
"Tell Peter: Put your wet socks in the dryer."
"Tell Peter: Rock stars are admired."
Writing Prompts: Write about a time when you had a miscommunication with someone else. What happened and how did you resolve it?
Topics Covered: Communication, Patience
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