Thursday, November 8, 2012

Book #313: Lizard’s Song by George Shannon, Illustrated by Jose Aruego & Ariane Dewey

Image from
Lizard lived on a big flat rock in the mountains of the west. He loved it so much he made up a song about it:

“Zoli zoli zoli – zoli zoli zoli
Rock is my home – rock is my home
Zoli zoli zoli – zoli zoli zoli”

Lizard sang his song every day as he danced on his rock and one day Bear heard the song. He made Lizard sing the song over and over until he had memorized it. Bear sang the song all day long, but various incidents make him forget the song and each time he runs back to Lizard to learn it again. Finally, Lizard figures out that Bear should sing about his home, a den, and Bear is finally able to remember the song.

This simple story focuses on the joy of singing your own song. Shannon’s experience as a storyteller is evident in the text, which is tailor-made for a read aloud. The “Zoli Zoli Zoli” song is repeated many times throughout and is an especially memorable part of the book. The illustrations are colorful and cheerful. Bear scampers through a landscape of orange and yellow flowers while many colored 16th notes dance in the air as he sings. The sheet music for the song is included within the text.  

My mom and dad used to read me this book, although at our house we called it, “Zoli Zoli Zoli” or “Rock is My Home.” My mom made up her own version of the song, which is what I use when I read it out loud. No matter what version you sing, invite kids to sing along with you. After you read the book ask kids to name other animals and change the song to sing about that animal’s home.

Use this as part of a storytime that celebrates each child's unique home. Try pairing it with other stories about protagonists that love their homes, such as Corduroy or The Little Mouse and the Red Ripe Strawberry and The Big Hungry Bear.

Steven, the author of the Beyond the Book Storytime Blog, provides an outline for a humorous adaption of this story to be performed with puppets.

Shannon provides a bit of insight into the creation of this book on his website. Check out the further adventures of Lizard in Lizard's Home and Lizard's Guest.


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