Monday, January 2, 2012

Book #2: The Little Little Girl with the Big Voice by Kristen Balouch

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I have a confession to make: I’m kind of a snob about children’s book illustrations. I like them to not only tell the story but to be works of art as well. I will admit, I’m a bit spoiled. My brother is an artist and our apartment is full of his drawings, paintings, sketchbooks, brushes, pencils, etc. (Ok, I will also admit that I take up my fair share of space with several hundred books. Still…). The point is that I’m picky when it comes to picture book illustrations. I will shove books back on the library shelves if their cover art strikes me as atrocious.

Thankfully, the book I’m featuring in today’s post had me at hello, a very loud hello. The little little girl reminds me of the characters in Disney’s It’s a Small World and the bright, bold colors are just irresistible. The story line is simple: this tiny girl has a big voice, so big that she scares away all the animals she tries to befriend. That is until she meets a lion with a roar as big as her voice. I like that the story is about a child who finds happiness by being her unique self. She doesn’t, not even for a second, think about changing to get others to like her.

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The text is very minimal, which means it can be a quick book if your audience gets ants in their pants, or you can draw it out by talking about the animals the girl meets, the noises they make, etc. This book would be great for an opposites storytime (Loud vs. Soft), a storytime about animal noises, or one about self confidence (Can you tell I grew up reading/listening to Marlo Thomas’ "Free to Be You and Me”?). 

I would love to pair it with songs or rhymes that emphasize the difference between loud and soft. Such as the song John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmit, which is usually sung very quietly until the “Da da da da da da’s.” I also found a great variation of the classic “Two Little Birds” fingerplay that helps kids practice their loud and soft voices.

Two little birds sitting on a cloud (index fingers held out in front)
One named soft and the other named loud.
Fly away soft, fly away loud. (one index finger behind the back and then the other)
Come back soft, come back loud. (one index finger back in front and then the other)

Not only is this an easy fingerplay to add if you need another rhyme to settle the kids, it’s helpful because most kids (and parents) learn some version of it at some point making it easy for them to jump right in. And if they’re really into it, you can always throw in some of the other versions (Jack and Jill, High and Low, Fred and Spence, Short and Tall, etc.).

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Craft-wise, I would love to do a collage craft using bold shapes and colors, as Balouch used in the book. And of course, you can always make and decorate a variety of noisemakers, coffee can drums, rainsticks, etc. Always popular with the kids (although less so with their parents).

Finally, I just like the idea of doing a “loud” book in a library. The quiet stereotype is so prevalent; it feels good to break it even in small ways. Which makes me think the little little girl would be very very proud of me.


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