Saturday, October 11, 2014

Creepy Carrots

Last Halloween, I fell in love with the book Room on the Broom.  This Halloween, I am in love with carrots-  Creepy Carrots!

Creepy Carrots by Aaron Reynolds is one of those hardcover picture books that is worth paying hardcover prices for!

First, the illustrations are gorgeous (reminds me of my post about the book the Magic Rabbit-  read about this book here).  The illustrations are in black and white with strategic use of color-  in this case-  a lovely carroty orange to highlight important items:

Great illustrations can really encourage discussion in a picture book-  which is what we always want when working with students on their articulation and language goals.  I mean come on-  let's talk about the picture above as an example- we can target prepositions-  what is between the duck and towel?  What items are on top of the side of the tub?  The carrots are hiding where?-  behind the shower curtain.  We can target categories-  use the pictures to name three things you find in a bathroom.  Associations-  what goes with toothbrush?  Soap and ...?  Antonyms- the opposite of scared is ....?  Grammar-  The bunny is ..... his teeth?  Yesterday, he ______ his teeth.  One carrot, lots of _____?  Oh, the possibilities from just this one page spread!

Second, this story is downright adorable!  Essentially, Jasper Rabbit loves to eat carrots from Crackenhopper Field.  But he starts to feel like the carrots are out to get him.  Just when he thinks he sees creepy carrots, he discovers they are actually ordinary objects you would see anywhere (what an opportunity to do object function goals for every object that Jasper discovers when he really looks-  what do you use clippers for like in the picture below?  What do you do with shampoo in the picture above?):
This is also a great book for predicting.  Is Jasper paranoid, or are the carrots really following him?  When he thinks he sees them lurking, what do you predict will happen?   After the reader discovers the first time that the carrots are really ordinary objects, what do you predict he will think the carrots are the next time he thinks he sees the carrots-  use the location to make a good prediction-  i.e. if the objects are in the shed, what kind of things could they be based on what is kept in a shed?

There are also opportunities for students to narrate part of the story in the section where Jasper hatches a plan (and yes, I use that saying in the story to discuss what that lovely example of figurative language means-  and there are more in there along with words to practice using context clues, too!):

The illustrations above are the perfect way for students to also practice sequencing (after you have them predict first what Jasper is building!).  Wh-  questions are easy to practice with this book, as is summarizing and story retell.  Take photos of the pages with your phone and print them out for students to order and use as visual cues as they retell the story.

I don't want to spoil the surprise of how the story ends, so check it out for yourself and see why this book is such a gem for your therapy room.  Few books really give me an opportunity to hit so many language goals in one session like this one does, and it is truly entertaining to boot.  I have had this book sitting on a plate display right by the door to leave the therapy room all of last week, and over half of my kids have asked when we are going to read that cool looking book!  Already hooked, and they haven't even read it yet! 

What is your favorite Halloween book this year?

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