Families, Create: Animals

When I tell people that I left the classoom I’m most often asked, But don’t you miss it?!

And my consistent, immediate response is, No.

And I really don’t. I get my fill of heart aching growth and flashes of learning at home.

Except for one teeny tiny classroom pull, that is: Books.

For such an introvert, I crave cracking open a book in front of a group of children. Smoothing down the first page and drawing them into a new story, a new world, a glimpse of someone else’s imagination.

Luckily for me my kids are forgivingly indulgent even when I’m in teacher mode. Sit nicely! What do you think will happen next? Let’s make our own version! pausing only for Jason’s gentle nudges, So what happens next in your lesson plan?

When I saw this month’s Families, Create! theme, Animals, thoughts of the zoo, animal research, and animal puppets breezed by in the background as I scrolled down to what I really wanted to see: The Book List.

And when I found Mo Willems on the list, out went the zoo and in came Mo.

After much hemming and hawing we chose, We Are In A Book. In this gem the main characters Piggy and Gerald find out that they are in a book and take control by forcing the reader to say a really funny word: Banana.

Weeks after that first giggle, our family still says Banana! if we’re in the mood for some silliness. Like in the middle of a store. Or dinner. Or bedtime. Sigh.

After many laughter infused reads I asked the kids in my best teacher voice, What should we do with the book?

And after some thought, they responded in their loudest voices, We could be in a book!

And that became our project.

Over the course of a few days, we planned.

And wrote.

And created a book centered around the kids, the laugh-out-loudness of Banana and Brody’s recent fascination with divers.

We talked about beginning-middle-and end, the problem, punctuation, talking bubbles, animal characters that have people traits, and how very funny they thought they were. We covered that last one a lot.

And their book is amazing; Not that I’m biased. It reads:

Strawberry banana smoothies to celebrate their big accomplishment. You know, their author debut.

A Kayli and Chloe and Brody Book: Hey! Let’s Talk Fruit

Kayli: Hey! I want you to say banana!

Chloe: No, say strawberry!

Kayli: No, say banana!

Chloe: No, say strawberry!

Kayli: No, say banana!

Chloe: No say strawberry!

Kayli and Chloe: Whisper, whisper.

Kayli and Chloe: We want you to say strawberry banana smoothie!

Brody: Hey! I want you to say DIVER!!!

Kayli and Chloe: Hmmm?

Kayli, Chloe  and Brody: DIVER!!! HaHa! HeeHee!

After the smoothies, I couldn’t help but pepper them with annoying questions What did you like best? What’s your favorite Mo Willems book? Why?

Round two of our talk time is below. In it, they review Mo Willems, summarize We Are In A Book, read their book and, of course, yell DIVER as loud as they can. Why? Because it’s almost as funny as BANANA!

(*Turn up the volume for the beginning, but don’t get scared when they yell DIVER, Yes. It’s that loud.*)

This post was written as part of the “Families, Create!” Make and Play carnival hosted by Dionna at Code Name: Mama and Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children.

March’s Families, Create! challenge was filled with awesome animal-themed posts. From Mo Willems to monkey finger puppets, our writers and crafters kept busy getting creative with the little animals in their lives.

Visit Code Name: Mama and Living Peacefully with Children to find out how you can participate in the next Families, Create! Carnival. Our April theme is “Fantasy” – childhood is a fascinating time, filled with magic around every corner. What can your family imagine and create?

Please take time to read the March submissions by the other carnival participants:

  • Lizz at Am I a Funny Girl turns a family outing at the zoo into a picture book to keep.
  • Maman A Droit shares her easy pattern for a felt monkey finger puppet with you!
  • Aunalise at My Sweet Potatoes offers helpful ways for a child to remember calming techniques with a “Calming your Beast” basket.
  • Most of us have monkeys running around our house at times. Or lions. Or elephants. Make your child’s creative animal play even better with stuffed animal tails! Dionna at Code Name: Mama shares an easy tutorial.
  • Galit Breen at These Little Waves shares an easy way to get creative with Mo Willems’ “We Are In A Book.”
  • Maman A Droit shares her pattern for a felt bunny finger puppet-a perfect Easter basket filler!
  • Amy at Anktangle shares photographs of crocheting a lovable stuffed turtle for her son to play with.
  • Aunalise at My Sweet Potatoes knows a few ways to bring beneficial birds to the garden.
  • Lauren at Hobo Mama has a fun and easy game to make to stimulate your preschooler’s memory.
  • Aunalise at My Sweet Potatoes is making nature bags or field bags for nature journals and the other things we may need as we explore our planet.
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  1. This is great! I LOVE Moe WIllems. The Pigeon books are a huge hit around here. We haven’t read “We are in a Book” yet, I’ll have to look for it the next time we’re at the library.

  2. JDaniel4's Mom says:

    This is so cute! I love the conversation you had while putting it together.

  3. You are such a great mom! You’ve inspired me and now we have a special activity for our (possible) snow day tomorrow. Though, I suspect it won’t be pulled off as seamlessly as yours.

    • Oh honey, there’s *nothing* seamless about me! But thank you for the kind words! I love that we’ll both be crafting with our little ones, although I hate that it might be in snow! XO

  4. Oh my gosh, this is great. You motivated me to start trying some new fun projects with my kids. Now we must get that book as well!

  5. That was wonderful idea for the kids Galit. I’ve said this before – they are very fortunate to have your teaching experience in addition to your natural Mommy love and caring guidance. Great hearing the kids like that on video. Kayli definitely has the older sibling energy 😉 Hugs!

  6. Your kids are adorable. And how wonderful that you all love to read together.

  7. Books are my most given presents to my nieces, nephews and friends’ children. It is a pleasure to share this love with kids (and friends).

  8. Oh I love, love children’s books! And I miss that my kids are beyond them now, but I enjoy buying them for my little nieces and nephews and reading to them when I can.

    My favorite place to volunteer when mine were in elementary school was the library…and I still find myself wandering over there, now that I’m no longer the parent but now the employee!

    What a cute idea you had…

  9. You’re so creative – and what a wonderful idea to have the kids create a book around themselves! So much fun – and it was hilarious! DIVER! Although now I could really use a smoothie.

  10. This is awesome. I always loved reading with my boys too. :-)

  11. Really cool!!!

  12. This is so awesome! The girls are adorable on the video – talking about books and reading their book. Mo Willems is a hit around our house as well. My husband found his books when I was pregnant with our first and it was one of the first baby items he ever purchased. We read them all the time! What a fun project. 😉

  13. We LOVE us some Mo. And the two times I’ve made a book about Kieran, he has loved that too – what an ingenious idea to combine the two :) Thank you for the idea!!

  14. What a fun idea! I haven’t heard of that author before-we’ll have to check him out!

  15. We don’t have any Mo Willems books, but OMG, Max would love that banana one!
    I love that your girls wrote their own book! So stinkin cool!
    And I want to move to wherever you live and be your neighbor, just so you know… not in a creepy stalker way, but in a cuz you’re the coolest kind of way!

  16. What a fun idea. My oldest kids like to make books but I have never thought about giving them pictures of themselves to put in it. I think I will hand them the camera so they can take some super silly shots (which they are great at) and then let them make a book! Thanks for sharing

  17. what a fun idea!

  18. I love this idea, Galit, and I love all the activities you blog about doing with your family.

    Your girls are beautiful. I loved hearing them talk about the book and read their book with Brody.

  19. I really love this idea. I am sorry to say that with as many books as we have, I have NEVER read a Mo Willems book, but it will be on our list at our next library visit.

    • Galit…your teaching legacy continues! Now you are teaching the parents who are then passing it on to their children. Equally or more important… I think! You always have such great ideas. Even something as simple as the “fishing snack” still continues to be a hit at our house!

  20. What a fun idea! I love your creativity and can see you’re a great teacher. Lucky kids and the school system misses you, I’m sure. I’m looking forward to when my daughter’s old enough to appreciate books for more than their interesting taste.

    Visiting from the red dress club :)


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