This article was written by Lucinda Tooker for teachers and published in the Teacher Magazine Volume 26, Number 5, March 2014. We thought it would also be very useful for parents looking to engage their children in reading. We thank Lucinda for allowing us to post it here. DM
Stories to make your students laugh
By Lucinda Tooker
I am always looking for picture books that lend themselves to lessons relating to the 6 Pillars of Character (charactercounts.org). British children’s author Jeanne Willis and illustrator Tony Ross have teamed up for a number of suitable picture books, published by Andersen Press.
Flabby Cat and Slobby Dog are completely out of control. They are probably depressed, and their sole coping mechanism is to eat and watch TV. When they discover that everything in the house is shrinking (because of their expanding girths), they seek help from their distant cousins—the wild wolf and the cunning tiger. This book is really funny, and it gently conveys a message about the benefits of getting off the couch and leading an active lifestyle. Perfect for nutrition month in March!
Your parents would probably be relieved to read a bad report card, if the alternative was to lose you to a biker gang. So goes the premise of Big, Bad Bun, written as a letter from Fluff to his parents describing his misadventures with The Hell Bunnies. He really has only run as far as Grandma’s, where his parents pick him up after reading the bad report card Fluff tucked under his pillow. Personal accountability is discussion topic arising from this story.
When Colin Smally, the youngest of 10, heads outside for the very first time, his over-protective mother wraps him in cotton to keep him safe. But poor Cottonball Colin is not as safe as she had hoped! Still he has the time of his life, and thereafter is permitted to go out, unprotected, into the great, wide world. “Sometimes he got scared, and sometimes he got hurt. But ohhhh…it was worth it!” As with the other books, the illustrations add to the story, allowing readers to speculate about the validity of his mother’s concern.
Lucinda Tooker, teacher-librarian, Maple Ridge