Sunday, November 27, 2011

Nonfiction Monday: Hey Diddle Diddle

Hey Diddle Diddle: A Food Chain Tale
written by Pam Kapchinske; illustrated by Sherry Rogers
2011 (Sylvan Dell)
Source: Orange County Public Library

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A slithering snake came slinkin' past
when he spotted that bug - a snack at last!
He swallowed it whole and shimmied along,
a hissin' and a grinnin' and a singin' a song.

No one is safe in Hey Diddle Diddle. As soon as you start celebrating your latest meal, you end up on someone else's dinner plate. Welcome to the food chain. Each sequence is presented in a four line rhyme that will be a popular shared reading experience. It is an AABB pattern so you can withhold the last word in the second A and B lines and see if students can predict the word. Speaking of predicting, you can also ask students to use their background knowledge and predict what animal will be on the next page. Hey Diddle Diddle is a good science lesson (Lessons on herbivore/carnivore, predator/prey, and habitat are possibilities), but I think the hidden strength of this book is in the writing lessons that can be taught using this text. Author Pam Kapchinske loads these verses with vivid verbs which can be used as a mentor text for beefing up stale writing. It would also be a fun activity as a class to create your own pair of four verse rhymes featuring a predator and their prey. Perhaps a kid attacking a grilled cheese sandwich. As with other Sylvan Dell titles, check out the back matter for activities that can be used in the classroom or at home.

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  1. If the book cover is any indication, I have a feeling that the artwork is pretty fun as well - perfectly complementing the verse. I would definitely look out for this book. I remain fascinated with the concept of food chain - and how vividly brutal it can get. :)

  2. Hi Jeff, I plan to get this book. I volunteer in a second grade class every week during the writing/reading time, and I like that you think this would be a good text for writing. One can't have enough of those "vivid verb" examples to show students who favor the all popular "went" and "go." Plus it's a Sylvan Dell book (which published my first book, Astro the Steller Sea Lion) which, as you said, is packed with informative back matter.

  3. Thank you Myra and Jeanne for stopping by!


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