Have you seen the book Moo by David LaRochelle (and the brilliant pictures by Mike Wohnoutka)?
It was published by Walker Books for Young Readers in 2013. It is now my favorite story time book (tied with If You’re Happy and You Know it by David Carter).
The Story: Cow is out in the pasture when he sees Farmer put a For Sale sign on a snazzy red convertible. Cow decides to take the car for a stroll. Things happen.
Why it works: There are four words in this book: Moo. For Sale. Baa. The rest is context in conjunction with the pictures.
Here’s an example:
You just know by looking at the picture and the way the text is placed that Cow is having a ball going up and down over the hills.
Here’s another one:
(It’s Mooo! Instead of zzzzzzzzzoooom. ) Cow is zooming along. And you want to read it quickly. Mooo!
There are others. Perhaps the best one is when Cow gets into an accident. He’s explaining himself to the police officer:
I love this one. Can’t you just hear the explanation?
My experience with Moo! in storytime:
I read this book the first week of my five week Early Literacy story time session. I like to read with inflection and really had fun with it. The preschoolers loved it and wanted it read again. Sure! But I said they had to read along with me.
They did. They could tell by the pictures what to say and how to say it. The page where Cow is going up and down the hill? They moved their voices up and down with the text. The page where Cow is zooming along? They read the exclamation mark, as they say. The page where Cow is explaining himself to the policeman? I put my fingers under each word and they read it like they were explaining themselves as well.
Each page was “read” with inflection and understanding. As I understand the beginning reading process, a lot was happening!
Words have meaning? Check
Looking at the picture to infer meaning? Check
Reading goes from right to left? check
I’ve since read it in a Saturday open storytime (ages young to 5) and had equal excitement. Shall I read it again? Yes! They read along too.
What else? Each week, I’ve read Moo to this story time. Each week, they’re reading along with me. I had to miss a week to attend a meeting. I had my co-worker read it with them. She reported they read along. Last week I thought I’d add some discussion to our reading. What do you think is happening in this picture? or How do you think the cow is feeling now?
- David LaRochelle has storytime ideas for Moo! on his website.
- There’s even a Facebook page for Moo! The book…
PS: the local school district has invited the professional librarians to be part of their English/Language Arts curriculum resource committees. The four of us each sit in on two grade level meetings. I have Kindergarten and fourth grade. We participate in meetings, and offer titles when they need things filled in. It’s an amazing opportunity and I’m grateful for the experience. Monday afternoon, I was able to share Moo with the Kindergarten teachers. I read the book and share the experience I had with my preschool storytime. It was well received. One of the common core standards discusses making logical inferences from a text. What a perfect book to do just that.