"I have always imagined that Paradise will be some kind of library." ~ Jorge Luis Borges

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

ReedALOUD: They All Saw a Cat

This week, we are continuing to build out our library rules. The students are sharing examples of what the school rules look like and sound like in our library space.  

To help them deepen their thinking, we are reading They All Saw a Cat by Brendan Wenzel. This debut picture book presents a wealth of art and ideas. Having now read it from grades one through five, I can confidently say that They All Saw a Cat has significant kid appeal. The students' reactions as each page is revealed is fabulous. 

By the third page, they have understood that this is a book about perspective. They also know that it is the same cat that is being seen by the child, dog, and fox. First graders told me confidently that the cat has the same pattern, red collar, and yellow bell. With this common understanding we launch into the rest of the story. Upon reflection at the end, they also understand that the book is about varying kinds of perspective. Not only that, they are quick to point out the fact that each illustration is a different style and medium. As I said above, the book is rich, in both art and concept.

They understand the emotive relationship some of the characters have with the cat.

They understand the the proximity to the cat for some of the characters.

They understand the physiology, the actual ways the characters vision impacts the way they see the cat.   

The students have been quick to raise their hands and talk about the science behind the ways the bee, snake, skunk, and bat see the cat. I learned about the heat pocket or pit in a snake's mouth that aids in thermal vision...from a second grader.  This is incredibly cool stuff.

It's fun to go back and revisit the perspective taking after reading it through. A favorite has been the dog, which we think sees the cat as a really unattractive thing lurking about.

The reader has no doubt that this is the same cat. The repetition in the book is a lyrical and effective way to help the reader understand that this is the same cat making its way through its neighborhood. Also, the careful use of "a cat" and "the cat" makes for a fun read aloud experience and reinforces that the cat is being seen and that it is the same cat.

This book can be used in many ways, the students could follow any one of the perspective paths:
*they could research how other animals would see the cat;
*they can choose an animal and draw the cat from that geographic point of view; 
*they can choose an animal and show its emotional connection to the cat (predator/prey).

I chose to read the book with an eye for how the students as learners see themselves in our library space and how they would like others to see them. I'll be sharing the outcome of those lessons later this week.

How would you use this of a book with students? 

Want more information? Check out the wonderful book trailer.

Use the Emily Arrow Song with your students:

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