I went to Barnes & Noble yesterday and simply could not leave without this awesome picture book: Wild About Books by Judy Sierra. I was not familiar with the works of Judy Sierra, but if you click on her name it will take you to her web page where she has many other books that look fun. However, this is about her most recent book that I am wild about!
This book is about a librarian who drives her bookmobile into the zoo. The animals discover all the wonderful books she has and begin reading. They read everything! The monkeys read banana cook books, the crocodiles read Peter Pan, the otters read Harry Potter, and the hyenas read joke books. That's just a few of them. All the different animals read books that somehow connect to the type of animal they are. Best of all, the love of reading in the book leads to, wait for it. . . , WRITING! The animals are inspired to write their own stories.
When I read this book in the store, I immediately made a text-to-self connection. When I was a little girl, we lived in an apartment complex. Every other week, the local book mobile would come and park itself next to the playground. My parents didn't have a lot of money, so buying books wasn't an option. I remember walking into the bookmobile that first time and being simply stunned that I could read all these books for FREE! It was like someone had opened a candy store just for me. I haven't seen a bookmobile in ages. Do they still even have them? Hmmm , thinking about it now, you might have to explain the concept to your friends before you read this book!
Regardless, there are so many things to love about this book and so many ways to use it in your teaching:
- Introduce a love of reading and having an opening for your classroom library: These animals LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the books they get to read, and it comes across well.
- Genre: There so many different genres referred to in the text and through the illustrations making it a really good lead into a genre lesson. It would be great to read aloud and have your friends jot down the different genres they hear and notice.
- Vocabulary: This is a great picture book for the upper elementary crowd because it has some sophisticated vocabulary woven throughout. You will find words like conquer, resistance, niches, devoured, outrageous, pretentious, and redundant. You can easily use the text to teach using context clues to define unknown words. However, the more sophisticated vocabulary will in no way prevent out lower elementary friends from enjoying the book.
- Word Choice: As Molly McGrew, the librarian, reads aloud the animals don't come to her. They are attracted to her. The animals don't walk over, they are stampeding. The termites don't eat the book, they devoured it. There are many, many examples of excellent word choice throughout the text.
After a list of nominations is gathered from ABC booksellers, a shortlist of four books in each category is determined by a committee of booksellers chaired by an ABC Board member."