Thursday, May 4, 2017

Learning from Picture Books – I AM NOT A CHAIR by Ross Burach

This story is so preposterous it might make you laugh out loud! That's what happened to me. It reminded me of how, when my daughter was little, sometimes a ridiculous thing would strike us funny and we'd laugh hysterically together.  

Summary from the publisher:


Grab the best seat in the house with this funny, touching picture book about a giraffe who keeps being mistaken for a chair!

From the acclaimed author-illustrator of There’s a Giraffe in My Soup, Ross Burach, comes a curious tale about finding one’s courage and standing up for oneself. Full of vibrant and playful illustrations and hilariously absurd logic, kids will want to read it again and again.

Could there be anything worse for Giraffe? Maybe being sat on by a skunk or smooshed by two hapless hippos, or worst of all—cornered by a hungry lion? No one seems to notice that Giraffe is not standing around just to be sat upon. Will he be able to find his voice and make his friends realize who he really is?

I Am Not a Chair was written and illustrated by Ross Burach. It was published in 2017 by HarperCollins.

Opening:

“On Giraffe’s first day in the jungle, he felt something wasn’t right.”

My Thoughts as a Writer:

This is a great book to study if you are learning about plot – the main character makes several attempts to solve his problem and there’s a fun twist at the end when the character finally does take the step that solves the problem. It’s also a great one to study for humor and pacing. I loved the personality of the main character . The text and illustrations worked together so well to tell the story. And then there was a deeper layer with a theme about speaking up for yourself. I think this book has many of the elements of a perfect picture book.

My Thoughts as a Teacher:

I thought this book would be too silly for me, but I was wrong. I really liked the underlying theme about speaking up for yourself. The way it’s done with animals is quite clever. The character of the giraffe really captures how a quieter, shy or nervous child feels, to the point of being nervous even about asking to go to the bathroom. I liked the line: “I need to be me.” Lots of discussion possibilities for young children. Of course, giraffes don’t live in jungles—but then they aren’t used as chairs, either.

Ages: 4 - 7

Grades: K - 2

Themes:  sense of self, feeling afraid, individual differences, funny stories

Activities:

Think of a time when you felt afraid but couldn’t speak up for yourself. How did you feel? Draw a picture or share in a discussion if you wish.

If there was another page to the story, what do you think the turtle would do or say? Draw your idea!

What is your favourite page in the story? Why?

The book trailer is a lot of fun:






7 comments:

  1. The cover draws you to the story with the look in Giraffe's eyes. When you are new and very shy it can be so scary to find and use your voice. What a helpful and fun book to read with kids.

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  2. For children, learning how to speak up for themselves is a skill they all need to learn. Back when my daughter was in kindergarten, she was injured intentionally by a boy. I went with her to see the principal, but I first asked her a few questions about the incident to help her know what to say at the meeting. She told the principal what happened, how it made her feel, and what she expected the principal to do to right the wrong. From then on, she's been able to take care of most of her problems. I think this is a book that should be on every classroom shelf. Thank you for sharing this book.

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    1. What a great way to handle the situation! It's so true that it can be hard for young children to speak up for themselves. The copy I read was borrowed from the library, but I'd like to get one for my class.

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  3. Very cute! I've felt much like a shelf as a parent!

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    1. Haha! I didn't think of that! How true.

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  4. Fun story. I too laughed out loud in the bookstore. Great trailer, I especially love the narrator's voice!

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