Monday, November 30, 2009

The Scarecrow's Dance

On an autumn evening, a scarecrow has the opportunity to escape his place in the field.  He jauntily travels along the cornfield, past the cows and the barn until a yellow light from the farmhouse catches his eye.  A young boy is being tucked in for the night, but before he goes to sleep, he says a prayer.  It is the boy's prayer that touches the scarecrow and causes him to think about his place in the world.

I'm a big sports fan so it comes naturally to make a list of who would be in the top five of something or the other. If I'm creating a top five of writers for children, Jane Yolen goes in my top five.  The Scarecrow's Dance, with the use of rhyme and a thoughtful message, can easily stand with Owl Moon and other Yolen favorites. You can't find a book about teaching writing that doesn't mention a Jane Yolen book as a model text.  Her writing is so descriptive and yet free of unnecessary details. Bagram Ibatoulline's illustrations are wonderful and remind me of Norman Rockwell paintings.

The Scarecrow's Dance, like Owl Moon, would be a great piece to use to teach small moment writing.  A mini-lesson on cause and effect or main idea could easily be generated with this book as well.

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