Picture Book Resources
- Compare/contrast: There are many points to compare and contrast, from the way the story is told and illustrated to the setting to the way the books make you feel as you read them.
- Patterns (& Prediction): Both of these books follow a specific pattern in what happens to the coat over time and word choice. Ask students to identify patterns in the story, or predict what will happen next as you read.
- Jewish Culture: Both books are based on a traditional Yiddish song, so both are good options when doing a study of Israel, Judaism, or looking at different cultures.
- Immigrants: The Aylesworth book portrays grandfather as an immigrant coming to America. The back of that book has some great personal stories from both the author and the illustrator on immigrants in their own families.
- Music : Both of these books are inspired by a song, and the Taback version has a copy of the music so you can sing the song too.
- Compare/contrast: All three stories feature disgruntled communicative crayons, but the object of their frustrations is different. Students can compare and contrast the stories, the messages of each book, the illustration styles, the text (one is in rhyme and the others are not), etc.
- Opinion vs. Fact: Have students look back at their compare/contrast points and determine which ones are fact-based and which ones are opinion-based.
- Plagarism: When Daywalt’s first book came out, there were several people saying it was plagiarizing DeRolf’s book. Obviously, no lawsuit was filed, so it was decided it didn’t. These two do provide a good opportunity to discuss what plagiarism is, how to make sure you aren’t plagiarizing in your works, and when similarities are acceptable.
- Conflict Resolution: All three books focus on various conflicts that need resolution and provide an opportunity to talk about how to resolve differences and problems in healthy ways.
- Responsibility: The most recent Daywalt book has a subtle message about needing to be responsible with your things. It’s a good opportunity to talk to kids about why this is important.
- Geography: In the second Daywalt book Hot Red crayon has horrible geography skills. Have students see if they can use the clues in the illustrations to identify where he really is, versus where his postcards say he is.
- Compare/contrast: The challenge in comparing and contrasting traditional nursery rhymes with Lansky’s versions will be finding similarities, but they can be found.
- History of Nursery Rhymes: Many of Lansky’s rhymes make more sense to modern readers, but at one point in time, most of the original nursery rhymes had deeper meaning for the original hearers. Have students research the origins of some nursery rhymes. (This is probably a better activity for older elementary or secondary students as the roots of many nursery rhymes are rather gruesome.)
- Creative Writing: Have students follow Bruce Lansky’s example and put their own twist on old rhymes.
- Humorous Read Aloud: Mary Had a Little Jam is a great, fun read aloud that can be read in short segments when you need a filler.