Review (Plus): “My Wild Family”
Bookshelf Blurb: Brilliant illustrations depicting family members as animals! What animal would you be? What about your mom, or dad, or grandma?
The cover and the title made me anticipate a story about animals, but much to my delightful surprise I found My Wild Family by Laurent Moreau to be a book about what makes each us special. The narrator describes each member of her family and puts a picture of the animal she feels best represents their personality within the confines of daily life. She tells us her brother is strong; we find her brother on a school playground with his classmates, except he is a glorious gray elephant!
I have to admit it took me a minute to grasp the person being described was an animal. I had to flip back to the beginning and find the animal being described before I had an “A-HA” moment. The vivid colors and the scenes kept me grinning like a fool as I read the book. How great to think of my family as animals—oh, how my brain was already thinking of how to use this in the classroom.
In the classroom (my favorite part):
Run to your nearest “dollar” store and buy a pack of paper plates. Now, read My Wild Family to your classroom; make students identify the author and illustrator of the text (CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.K.6). With prompting and support, describe the relationship between illustrations and the story in which they appear” (CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.K.7). This ensures your students become familiar with an animal being a representation of a member of the narrator’s family.
Enlist the help of your librarian and assign your students to go to the library to select a book about an animal they believe they are,thus answering the last question, “What makes you special?”
Send home the book with your students to read with their parent (CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.K.10). You will need to send home a letter to the parents explaining the assignment: Your child has selected an animal they feel best represents them. Please read this with them and brainstorm why they chose this animal. You may even talk about what animal you would be and why.
After completion of this story have each student make a paper-plate mask depicting what animal they would be. This is a simple pre-K or kindergarten activity where limited reading is acceptable.
My Wild Family by Laurent Moreau (Chronicle Books | 9781452144238 | November 3, 2015)