Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Book #360: Never Take a Shark to the Dentist (And Other Things Not to Do) by Judi Barrett, Illustrated by John Nickle

Image from Scholastic.com
In this hilarious book readers are cautioned that there are some things you just shouldn’t do, such as going shoe shopping with a centipede or holding hands with a lobster. It’s also a bad idea to sit next to a porcupine on the subway or invite an ant to a picnic. After the list of “Nevers,” the readers are left with one “Always.” “Always go shopping with a pelican.”

The book establishes a formula that builds up to the “Always” twist on the very last page. Each two page spread features one line of text on the left hand side of the page and a humorous illustration of why it’s a horrible idea on the right. The dead pan text is printed in large font against a white background. The acrylic illustrations depict animals engaging in human activities, such as shopping, watching movies, jumping rope, and going to the bank. The anthropomorphic animals also wear clothes and their facial expressions and body language help to deliver the punch line of the jokes.

Use this book with kindergarten or elementary school aged students as part of a joke/riddle themed storytime. Try pairing it with Mr.Putney’s Quacking Dog, Adam Rex’s Pssst! or Guess Again! When you read the book out loud make sure to give the kids plenty of time to get the joke and laugh before moving onto the next page.

Ask kids to think up their own “Never” tips to create a companion book. Encourage them to illustrate why it’s such a bad idea. Or each child can create their own book of tips, as suggested on Gypsy Jacquelina’s blog.

On her blog, Adventures of Room 129, Mrs. Harris uses this book to teach inference. She suggests reading the text without showing the pictures and asking the kids to use their existing knowledge of the animals and situations to figure out why it’s a bad idea. Follow up by reading Animals Should Definitely Not Wear Clothing also written by Judi Barrett and illustrated by her husband, Ron Barrett.

Finish by crafting a humorous paper plate shark or a shark hat (scroll halfway down). Alternatively, you could pick another animal featured in the book and do a craft based on that animal.


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