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

Monday, April 23, 2018

ReedALOUD: A Perfect Day

My kindergarten students and I recently read A Perfect Day by Lane Smith

"Cat is lounging among the daffodils. Dog is sitting in the wading pool, deep in the cool water. Chickadee is eating fresh seed from the bird feeder. Squirrel is munching on his very own corncob. Today is a perfect day in Bert's backyard."

At least that's how the day begins. 

I knew my students would love this book. 

We've been exploring books about spring amidst this very non-spring-like spring. (It snowed on the first day of spring!) I was sure that by yesterday the sun would be out and we'd be feeling those warm rays and able to shed hats, gloves, and winter jackets. Not so. It was 35 degrees yesterday. It was very grey and occasionally very wet. So...not A Perfect Day, unless 35 degree rainy weather is your perfect day.

Even though the weather did not cooperate, we pushed on with reading the book and thinking about days that are perfect, a day they they really enjoyed where they were, who they were with, or what they were doing.

This clever and beautiful book captured their attention and hearts. They fell in love with the animals, especially the bird. Lane's mixed-media art is richly textured and engaging. The dog's fur looks as if you could pet it. Lane effectively brings the reader in close and then steps back to give a broader view. 

All along, there's Bert helping to create these perfect days...
and then along comes bear.
"Bear crushes the daffodils, drinks the pool water, and happily gobbles up the birdseed and corncob."

The story shifts and the cat, dog, bird and squirrel's perfect day become the bear's perfect day. 
This perspective within the art and the narrative is fabulous. It WAS a perfect day for those who are looking out on the bear having a perfect day enjoying the things they love.

Along with talking about perspective, I wanted to give the students an opportunity to think about a perfect day and then to think about how that perfect day was no longer perfect. What happened to change it? What could happen to change it? 

How did it go from: "It was a perfect day," to "It WAS a perfect day."

I gave a short example of going to the park and then getting ice cream. It was a perfect day, the sun was shining, the park was full of my friends, we played for hours and then went to get ice cream. I went to take a lick of my ice cream and the scoops fell off the cone onto the sidewalk. It WAS a perfect day.

Before reading the book, the students had shared examples of their perfect days: being at a park, inside reading on the couch, ice skating on a pond, skiing down a mountain, going to the beach, playing board games or doing a puzzle, building blocks or legos, playing a video game, etc.

We went back to these earlier examples and talked about how they might change. How a younger sibling could come toddling onto the scene during the great castle construction and accidentally knock it over. How it could rain and send people home from a park. 

Here are some of their perfect days and how they became a thing of the past....

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