'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Thursday 29 September 2011

My Fave Dr Seuss Book: Susan Stephenson

One of my favourite Dr Seuss books is I Wish That I Had Duck Feet. He wrote it under the name Theo. LeSieg, it was illustrated by B.Tobey, and it was one of the Beginner Books series.

I Wish That I Had Duck Feet has a great message of self-acceptance. We've all wished to be someone else, or to change something about ourselves. But accepting our own weaknesses and strengths is one of the best things we can do for ourselves. The book isn't preachy, but I hope it gets this message across just the same.

I like the way it encourages thinking skills too by showing kids both sides of the story. The hero imagines wonderful features for himself, like duck feet, and a whale spout. But he realises the disadvantages of those features too. B. Tobey's illustrations are clear, colourful and perfectly capture each moment portrayed in the story.

I Wish That I Had Duck Feet has strong rhyme and rhythm. These are so important for beginning readers when done well. Kids learn books like this off by heart, and that's a really important step on the journey to being an independent reader.

I love books that encourage dreaming and imagination. I Wish That I Had Duck Feet centres around its young hero's daydreams of himself with added advantages. I believe it's important to encourage our kids to dream, and great children's literature does just that. Whether it's looking at clouds and imagining animals, or dreaming up a new way to do something, thinking creatively is a vital skill.

As a teacher, I value this book's potential for follow up activities. Kids love to imagine what amazing improvements they might make to themselves, and I've seen such creative artwork and writing when using I Wish That I Had Duck Feet as a prompt. If you don't know the story, you can hear it being read aloud on YouTube before you race to your library or local book store to grab a copy. I hope you and your kids enjoy it as much as I do.

Teacher and literary specialist Susan Stephenson, aka The Book Chook, writes about children's books and literacy with much affection. Check out more here www.thebookchook.com.