Sunday, October 14, 2012

Book #288: Ring! Yo? by Chris Raschka

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What do you say when you answer your phone? For the young boy in this book the answer is, “Yo?” And so begins a conversation between two friends, but we only get to see and hear half of it. What’s the other person saying? What’s making the boy whisper, “Um” into the phone and then explode with a ear-splitting, “Why?”

In this clever book dialogue is king. The boy speaks in one or two word, usually monosyllabic, phrases. The dialogue is printed in very large font at the top of the page. The illustrations, which look to be a combination of watercolor and charcoal, are playful with broad brush strokes and loose line work. Dressed in a bright striped shirt the boy stands out against the clean white background. Body language and facial expressions are deftly used to build anticipation and intrigue. The story portion of the book begins and ends with the same illustration of the boy on the other end of the line. The book concludes with one possible version of the conversation between the two friends, “Was it this?...Or was it something else?”

Use this for an improv acting game for kids. Pair up kids and have them come up with their own version of the conversation and then invite them to perform their script for the group. Or have kids write a conversation between two people. Have them first perform only one side of the conversation and let the other kids guess what is really going on. Then have two kids perform both sides of the conversation.

After you read this book talk about the differences between the exclamation point, the question mark, and the period. Would the conversation sound different if a sentence ended with a period instead of a question mark?

Bring in all kinds of old telephones (check your local thrift store) for the kids to play with. Old rotary phones are especially fun, although you may have to explain to kids how they work. Or follow this tutorial to make a tissue box into a telephone.

If your kids like this book, read about the continued adventures of these two friends in Raschka’s Yo! Yes?


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