TRC Read to Kids

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Monday, February 4, 2013

Z is for Moose? Yup. Read it and laugh.

Today's book feature is Z is for Moose by Kelly Bingham and Paul O. Zelinsky.

Z is for moose? Really? How could that be? A zany moose? A zippy moose? A moose from the Zurich Zoo?  What kind of ABC book is this?

It’s a hilarious ABC book. And well worth reading aloud to group of kids. It’ll work for preschoolers through 10- to 12-year-olds because of its clever design, engaging illustrations and tongue-in-cheek story.

Here’s the set up:  It is Zebra’s job to keep everybody in order to end up on the correct page of this ABC book. But Moose is very excited and struggles to wait his turn. When “M” comes around, and things don’t go the way he expects them to, Moose goes berserk. What will Zebra do? Will Moose calm down? What will happen to the ABC book?

Most of the text follows standard ABC book format, “A is for Apple,” but speech bubbles add drama and humor. Zelinsky’s illustrations tell much of the story, too. If you pay attention to the details, you’ll get so much more of the story. 

As you are reading this book aloud, be sure to give the kids plenty of opportunity to carefully examine the pictures. Encourage the kids to predict which item will depict the letter that comes next, or what Moose or Zebra will do next. Ask them how Moose, Zebra or the other ABC characters feel about what is going on. Pause before the end and brainstorm ways that Zebra can resolve the problem.

This book would work well with other unusual ABC books like The Hidden Alphabet by Laura Vaccaro Seeger or The Z Was Zapped by Chris Van Allsburg or with unconventional books about books like Interrupting Chicken by David Ezra Stein or The Three Pigs by David Wiesner.

On a more emotional level, Moose’s melt down finds a great parallel in Pigeon’s tantrum in Mo Willem’s Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus. And the resolution of the story invites a discussion about the nature of friendship that brings to mind Willem’s Piggy and Elephant books or Arnold Lobel’s Frog and Toad.

Or you could just have fun with it. It’s that kind of book.

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