Lawn to Lawn by Dan Yaccarino
(Random House Books for Kids) 2010
Source: Mebane Public Library
Pearl and the lawn ornaments are having a tea party when she talks about how excited she is about moving to a new home. The ornaments are not as excited about the move, but they love Pearl so they're willing to go. Unfortunately on moving day, the lawn ornaments are left behind. Rather than face the fate of the curb or worse, the garbage truck, the ornaments set off for a cross-country adventure to find their beloved Pearl and her new home. Betty the deer, Flo the flamingo, Jack the jockey, and Norm the gnome face many trials as they travel, but with perseverance find Pearl's new home only to find the entrance guarded by two "snooty" lions. A surprising twist provides a solution to this humorous tale.
I became acquainted with Dan Yaccarino's work through watching Oswald, his animated Nickelodeon series, with my daughter. Lawn to Lawn, like Oswald, uses personification and quirky humor to show the importance of friendship. Students will make immediate connections to Toy Story, but the humor here is a little more subtle. I think one of the interesting aspects of this book is how each of the ornaments have opportunities to delay their quest, but they stay loyal to Pearl and continue their travels.
There are good lessons on character and personification that can be taught using Lawn to Lawn. Since Toy Story is so familiar to students, you could contrast it with Lawn to Lawn.