Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Miss Fox's Class Shapes Up

Miss Fox's Class Shapes Up
written by Eileen Spinelli; illustrated by Anne Kennedy
2011 (Albert Whitman)
Source: Review copy provided by the publisher

The students in Miss Fox's class are having a tough time. Frog is falling asleep in class. Bunny doesn't have time for breakfast and Squirrel is winded after a short run on the playground. It's time to shape up this class and the determined Miss Fox starts with a visit to the school nurse who recommends healthy foods to eat. Next, ideas are solicited for exercises during recess time. Even the principal and the custodian join in the fun. Soon all of the students are eating better, sleeping more, and exercising each day. Even Frog is staying awake all day. Will the class be ready for Field Day?

Miss Fox's Class Shapes Up is a delightful story with a serious message. It's important to exercise, eat right, and get enough sleep. Physician, heal thyself! I love the focus on physical fitness, but there is something else going on here that could be easily overlooked. This is a fantastic book for teaching young students the skills of finding cause and effect and finding the problem and solution in a story. Eileen Spinelli practically serves it on a platter for teachers. With its focus on problems common to all of us and terrific illustrations, Miss Fox's Class Shapes Up will engage primary students and help them understand how one thing can make another thing happen. "What happens when we don't get enough sleep?" or "Why do we need to eat a good breakfast?" are instant discussion starters to which everyone can make a connection. Now I need to put down my diet soda and put on my running shoes!

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