The Fishing Trip by Beatrice Rodriguez

The Fishing Trip by Rodriguez  is a wonderful wordless book that I will be adding to the list of wordless books on our texts that teach list.  Thanks @madaboutbooks for the recommendation.

The book tells the story of Fox, Chicken and Crab who open the fridge to find the cupboard bare.  Chicken and Crab then go off on a fishing trip to catch some food.  They catch a large fish, only for a cross eagle-type bird to catch hold of the fish and drag Chicken and Crab off.  They end up entangled with a nasty-looking sea-snake and escape back home.  There a big surprise awaits them and I laughed out loud when I turned to the last page and saw what they were having for tea.

The book would work particularly well with units of literacy in Yrs2 – 4 where a traditional tale is being looked at, as the story lends itself to that type of story telling.  It would fit into the capturing ideas part of a teaching sequence providing a structure for children to retell their own story.  We are in discussion about the blueprint – voyage and return or quest. It fits both and the one you would choose would be dependent upon how strongly you felt the desire was to go on a journey to solve the problem of no food .

I was delighted to see that there were  more books in the series: The Chicken Thief, Fox and Hen TogetherRooster’s Revenge  and The Treasure Thief due out at the end of this month. I am going to have to start collecting them!

Have you come across any good books recently?

Wordless picture book number 4

I have long been a fan of David Wiesner, enjoying many of his wordless picture books.  My favourite one has to be Flotsam.

In this book a boy finds a camera washed up on the beach with a film inside.  I have to say the colours on the roll of film do remind me of Kodak but I am not sure how many children in primary schools will still be familiar with the concept of film and taking the film to be developed.  The photos that are revealed tell the tales of incredible goings on under the sea.  But the last picture proves to be even more of a puzzle because it shows a girl holding a picture from the film and this image goes on and on and on.

Using a microscope these images reveal that the very first picture was taken a long time ago.  The boy continues the idea of taking a picture of himself holding the last photo and then returns the camera to the sea where it continues on its fantastical journey.  This is a wonderful book where every page is a visual delight.

I love the fantastical side of the book with the sea creatures taking part in human activities, sitting on the sofa reading or flying in a balloon of puffer fish.  But I am also interested in the theme of eyes and lenses that runs through the book.  It reminds me of The Viewer by Shaun Tan Gary Crew and another book about the Kraken which escapes me at the moment.

There are several ways in which this book could be used.  It could be used as for children to retell the story adding text or it could be innovated upon.  If children took the underlying story: something is found on the beach, it reveals something unexpected, it is returned to the sea then there are lots of ways in which a similar story could be developed especially if children are taken down to the beach to see what they can find on shore.  The book could be used to develop the idea of character through showing not telling.  ‘What do we know about the boy?’  would make a great investigation for children as there are many clues to be interpreted.  There is also something interesting to be studied in the framing of the pictures.   I particularly like the six small frames that show the boy’s boredom/excitement whilst waiting the hour for the pictures to be printed.

Another possible way to use the book is to take the idea from Houghton Mifflin and create a promotional video for the book.  A tool such as Photostory would be ideal.

This book would work well with almost any unit of literacy in KS2.  Obvious links are imaginary worlds and familiar settings but if you like the book you will make it work anywhere!

Have you used this book in literacy?  If so, how?

Wordless picture book number 2

Fans of wordless picture books will be familiar with Jeannie Baker’s work;  Window, Where the Forest Meets the Sea and Home.  The book of hers that I would most like to use in a literacy sequence is Mirror which I think fits very well with the Yr5 literacy unit stories from other cultures.

The book opens out to show two stories, one on either side of the cover.  Each book tells us the story of a child and their family, one living in Australia and one living in Morocco.    I think the book works best if you turn the pages of each story at the same time and read the two stories together comparing and contrasting what you can see and what you understand.

The images are created in Baker’s normal style, collage, and are packed full of detail that takes a while to observe fully.  The stories do cross when the Moroccan father travels into the market to sell a carpet and then the carpet is collected and placed in the Sydney home.  A way, I suppose, of asking us to consider where the things we buy come from and that we are linked in all sorts of ways.  It would be a great discussion with children to consider all the different ways that the title Mirror is reflected in the book.

There are several websites with teaching ideas for using this book.  Walker Books has a set of activities which are worth dipping into, particularly as they were drawn up with Jeannie Baker.  I would use the book to retell one of the stories but I would ask children to tell it in the style of The Day of Ahmed’s  Secret by Florence Perry Heide and Judith Heide Gillilan.  The writing in this book is rich with description and quite lyrical.  Whenever I have used this book with children they are always really surprised by the secret, it being such an every day act in their own lives.