written by Darrin Lunde; illustrated by Patricia J. Wynne
Source: Review copy provided by the publisher
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Hello, hopping animal.
What is your name?
My name is Mama Wallaroo.
A wallaroo is a kind of kangaroo.
Look at the text above. If you are working with young children, what do you want to do? I immediately thought about students thinking about themselves and how they would be introduced. That is one of the beauties of this superb new book. The question and answer format provides plenty of information about wallaroos, but you also have many opportunities for student self-reflection. The next question in the book asks the mama wallaroo what she looks like. She answers that she has a long face and a long tail with big ears and big feet. Now I would ask students to think about how they would describe themselves. Further questions ask about height, habitat, feeding, moving, fears, and other important aspects of wallaroo life. This is a great format for dissecting information about wallaroos and I think comparing ourselves to wallaroos will further the learning. Darrin Lunde's text is very accessible with short sentences that explain how wallaroos live. This is not an easy trick for an author and that makes it an excellent choice for a mentor text for nonfiction writing. The question and answer format is one more choice for young writers to try to write nonfiction. Another beauty of this book is Patricia J. Wynne's illustrations. See the illustration below:
I love the lines in Hello, Mama Wallaroo. Such care has been taken in each of these drawings. Rich discussions can take place about how illustrations further learning in a nonfiction book. Questions like "Why do wallaroos have whiskers? What do they do for them?" create more thinking and that is not possible without wonderful artwork. I can't wait to share Hello, Mama Wallaroo with my kindergarten friends. It would also be a great choice for moms and dads to share at bedtime as well.