If An Elephant Went to School
written by Ellen Fischer; illustrated by Laura Wood
2015 (Mighty Media Kids)
Source: Review copy provided by the publisher
If a frog hopped onto a desk, what would she learn?
Do you like cute and clever books? If you're a preK- grade 2 teacher, your answer should be "Yes!". We crave cute and clever as much as a diet soda after the buses leave. Apparently, so do Ellen Fischer and Laura Wood. They have created a winning nonfiction book that will be a favorite in your classroom. Here's the setup: Each two or four page spread features one animal. The first sentence is a question about what the animal would learn in school. Next, a response that gives the animal human qualities is met with a variation of "No!". The final sentence tells what the animal really does in the natural world. Here's an example:
"If a bee buzzed into a school, what would she learn?"
"How to read?"
"A bee would learn how to make honey."
Instead of reading a dry text to your PreK-1st grade class, you can have a fun interactive read-aloud experience with adorable illustrations. I would cover the last sentence in each series and take predictions about what the author is going to say about the animal. How would this work with a second grade class? I would use If An Elephant as a mentor text for writing. Students could create a booklet featuring several animals and mimic the sequence in the book. That is a fun writing experience that would nudge students into doing some animal research.
Look at the cover above. It screams to librarians and teachers, "Put me on display and many kids will grab me!" If you listen carefully, that's exactly what you will hear.