Thursday, February 19, 2015

Little Bird Takes a Bath

Little Bird Takes a Bath
written and illustrated by Marisabina Russo
2015 (Schwartz and Wade Books)
Source: Review copy provided by the publisher

"Rain, rain, gone away," sang Little Bird,
who always started his day with a song. 
"What a perfect day for a bath."

Little Bird was not a happy fowl. He saw the rainy night before him and made a face not unlike a Little League baseball player having his game rained out. When he woke up, Little Bird saw a sunny day from his ledge. Time to find a place to take a bath! Flying through the pleasant cityscape, he couldn't find the perfect puddle. Finally, a landing spot presented itself inside a park. Little Bird started splashing when he heard "bounce, bounce, bouncing" coming toward him. A blue rubber ball chased him from his bath. When quiet returned, he landed back in the shrinking puddle. "Flip, flop, flapping" was the sound that chased him a second time from his chosen water spot. A little girl in a sun dress was playfully splashing through the puddle. Soon the girl passed by and Little Bird was again in the puddle and was this time singing. "Arf, arf, arfing" raced toward him. The third time was not the charm for Little Bird. Instead, it was time to be despondent because there was not enough water left for a bath on this day. Heading home with disappointed wings, a surprised awaited Little Bird.

Young readers can relate to a character who runs into problems when they're trying to accomplish something. Who hasn't had a pencil lead break, a paper tear, or lost an eraser when it was time to write? Sometimes the most comfortable seat in the reading area is taken two seconds before you get there. Life comes with its hurdles. I like that Little Bird keeps trying. This is a great lesson for primary students.

When teaching about retell and summarizing, I often use a strategy called "Somebody Wanted But So Then." This helps a reader succinctly tell what a story was about. Little Bird Takes a Bath would be a terrific mentor text for teaching this strategy. If you teach in a rural area like I do, Little Bird is also a good book to show students an urban setting. The colorful city scenes are my favorite illustrations in the book. They happily remind me of Dan Yaccarino's Oswald television series.

Talk about a perfect bedtime story! You combine a bath with a main character settling in for the night at the end of the book. That my friends is the assist and the slam dunk rolled into one. You'll be punching the play button on your DVR before you know it.

Little Bird Takes a Bath will be available on March 10.

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