1982 Child's Playground
Summary: This is a rhyming story about a young boy who uses similes to compare himself with insects and animals around him. Examples include, “I'm as cold as a toad, I'm as hot as a fox, I'm as weak as a kitten, I'm as strong as an ox.”. The boy concludes by stating that if you add up all the diverse characteristics you have him!
Recommendation for Parents: This book is invaluable for celebrating a child's developing a sense of self awareness. It reinforces the child's understanding of rhyming and introduces him or her to similes. The colorful chalk drawings aid in the child's decoding of words as well as overall comprehension of the story. Each page allows the parent(s) and child(ren) to discuss emotions and their facial expressions. The picture book also teaches opposites, such as “sad”, “happy” and “loud”, “quiet”.
Recommendation for Other Teachers: Quick as a Cricket is an excellent book to read to English language learners because the large, beautifully colored pictures complement the text well. As you read the book, you can stop and ask questions such as “What makes you happy?” and “What animals do you compare yourself to and why?” You can discuss the use of the simile and then have the kids create their own. The can create their own picture book by writing and illustrating new similes. Then they can share their work with partners or to the class as a read aloud as you have demonstrated. Personal note: I enjoy reading this book because everyone can relate to at least one of the pages. It also shows that if someone is strong, they can also be weak. The facial expressions also act as a descriptive force in defining what a word means. For example, to have a scrunched up forehead and piercing eyes means to be mean while wiping sweat off a face with a hand means “hot”. I also embrace the idea that each person is a culmination of many different characteristics.