By Mordicai Gerstein. 2009. Roaring Brook Press.

Recommended AgesA Book

For use in school: Grades 2-4

Home read aloud: K-4

Summary

What happens inside a book when it is closed? The characters sleep, of course! When you open a book, the characters can wake up, begin their day and their stories, and that is what happens in clever book. Each member of the family of characters in A Book has a story, except the little girl. Even the cat, dog, and fish have stories to follow. As the family members head off to be part of their stories, the girl goes in search of her own. She soon discovers, by looking up, the presence of you, the reader, following her from page to page. (The illustrations are done from the reader’s perspective—aerial views looking down on the girl.) She wanders through fairy tales, mysteries, Alice in Wonderland, a pirate adventure, historical fiction, and her brother’s science fiction story. When she returns home, she announces that her story needs to be written; she will become the author of her own story!

In the Classroom…

Since the focus of A Book is about what writers do, the ideas for classroom use focusing on writing and reading nearly jump off the pages.

  1. Use the book as a springboard for introducing book and story genres: fairy tales, classics, mysteries, etc.
  2. Pages of the book could be turned into mini-plays or reader’s theater.
  3. Students could select one character’s story to “tell”—e.g. the father says his story is about “a loving father who is a hard-working circus clown.” Students could write and illustrate his story.
  4. Students could be challenged to identify as many of the familiar tales referenced in the book: Mother Goose, Hansel and Gretel, etc.
  5. The most direct idea suggested by A Book, is for students to become authors and write their own stories, just like the girl in the book.
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