Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Click Clack Moo

Cronin, D., & Lewin, B. (2000). Click, clack, moo: Cows that type. New York: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers. 

What a fabulous book for children of all ages! This picture book fits within the modern fantasy genre. The characters (farm animals) in the story are living outside the realm of reality—as they are reading and typing. This is obviously not realistic!

 In regard to the illustrations, this book is a Caldecott Honor book. It is full of rich illustrations that tell the story of a group of cows that are determined to have their way. They are tired of being cold in the barn, so they refuse Farm Brown milk until they receive electric blankets. Eventually, the hens get on board and begin refusing the farmer eggs.

One important aspect of this book is the typeface, which is shown on the title page. This gives the readers a look at the type of print that will be used throughout the book. Because the farm animals are using a typewriter throughout the story, it is only fitting that the font resembles that of a typewriter. It is important to note that two main fonts are used throughout the book. The typewriter font is used to show that the animals are typing, but it’s also used when their letters are revealed to the reader. The remainder of the book uses a different font.
In regard to the composition of the book, it is a hardcover book with a dust jacket that provides information about the story, the author, and illustrator. The binding is sewn, which is obvious when opening the book to the midpoint; the stitches can easily be seen. This makes for a longer-lasting book, which typically impacts the price as well.

This could easily lend itself to a discussion about authors’ purpose. In the story, the cows wrote Farmer Brown to PERSUADE him to meet their needs. Authors write for a variety of other reasons, too. As books are read to the class throughout the school year, discuss what the author’s purpose may have been (to entertain, to teach, to persuade, etc.). These purposes could be added to a chart to be posted in the classroom. This is an example I found from Pinterest. (What a great site! I must admit, I use it all the time... It has positively impacted my teaching.)
  1.  Here are some questions I feel would help in guiding this discussion of authors' purposes for writing: 
  2. Why did the cows write letters to Farmer Brown? 
  3. Have you ever tried to convince someone of something? 
  4.  The cows in this story wrote letters to PERSUADE. That was their PURPOSE for writing them. Why do you think these authors wrote these books? (Refer students to books they've previously read in the classroom.) Record their responses on a poster/chart.

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