Sunday, December 13, 2009

Lion, Mouse, Ogre

The Lion and the Mouse
written and illustrated by Jerry Pinkney

Displayed above is a side-by-side view of the front and back covers of this book. Generally, I'm not fond of covers without title and author information, but I will make an exception for Mr. Pinkney. This wordless picture book of Aesop's fable "The Lion and the Mouse" is in fact exceptional, and there's nothing else for me to say about it. Go buy it. I think I will too.

And then there's Awful Ogre, who warms my heart in an entirely different way. I first read Awful Ogre's Awful Day written by Jack Prelutsky and illustrated by Paul O. Zelinsky about four years ago when I was student teaching in a third grade classroom. I read it aloud to my students, and they gobbled it up. They loved it so much that it inspired us to explore poetry for the next month or more. I recently shared it with my third grade students in the library, which received mixed responses. Nonetheless, I love this book of poetry and wanted to share my enthusiasm for it with a new group of students.

So, how excited was I to find that there's another Awful Ogre book that I have yet seen?! Pretty darn excited, let me tell you. I snatched it up from my free library's new books section and took it home to read aloud (because you have to read poetry aloud!). Awful Ogre Running Wild is indeed a companion book, written and illustrated by the same duo, and it is just as much fun as the first. In fact, there are many parallels between the two books, which makes them very useful for lessons on poetry in the classroom or library. Not having Awful Ogre's Awful Day in front of me, the most obvious correlations I could make were the following:

Running Wild
  • "Awful Ogre's Picnic" with his girlfriend
  • "Awful Ogre Enters a Cook-Off"
  • "Awful Ogre Pays a Visit" to his grandma
  • "Awful Ogre Stays at an Inn"
  • "Awful Ogre Has Insomnia"
Awful Day
  • AO writes a letter to his ogress girlfriend
  • AO wins a gardening contest
  • AO's great-grandnephew (or something of the sort) visits him
  • AO goes out to eat at a restaurant
  • AO dreams
The one problem I have with this new book, however, is that there are some poems that take up four pages instead of a two-page spread. I expected the poem to end, but then I turned the page and there was more! But that's not much to gripe about, eh?


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