written by Amy Krouse Rosenthal
illustrated by Scott Magoon
published by Disney Hyperion Books, 2012
ages 4- 8
Meet Chopsticks! They've been best friends forever. But one day, this inseparable pair comes to a fork in the road. And for the very first time, they have to figure out how to function apart. From New York Times best-selling author Amy Krouse Rosenthal and rising artistic talent Scott Magoon, this witty and inventive tale celebrates both independence and the unbreakable bonds of friendship.
My Thoughts as a Writer:Chopsticks is a wonderful example of a fun, playful story with a word count well under 500 words. I’d read this book again to study the structure of the story and how it leads the reader on to the next page. This is another great example of how a simple idea can turn into an entertaining story. The word play was a lot of fun and added another level to the story. I also admired how the illustrations were integral to the story, creating emotion that just wouldn’t be there in the text alone.
My Thoughts as a Teacher:Young children often don’t understand that it’s okay for a friend to do something else or play with someone else sometimes, and this book would be a good one for beginning that discussion. I would also use this to talk about “chopsticks”, what they are and maybe do a graph on how many kids have used chopsticks. It would be fun to bring in real chopsticks and have students try using them. They could write their own stories or writing journal entries about other things chopsticks could do—either alone or together, or create a chopsticks poster with pictures of chopsticks together and chopsticks apart.
**If you're looking for more good picture books to read or to use in your classroom, check out Susanna Leonard Hill’s wonderful list of resources, Perfect Picture Books as well as her blog feature Perfect Picture Book Fridays.**