We were lucky enough to have had the opportunity to host Julia Donaldson at our school today. Julia, her husband and helpers from MacmillanKids presented an amazing show based on her poems, picture books and songs. I think I fell in love with her stories all over again. Our audience of Year 4-6 students hadn’t forgotten the words to the Gruffalo and seemed to thoroughly enjoy themselves. This was fantastic – firstly because I had chosen which year levels got to see the show and I knew that teachers of the younger year levels were probably very disappointed to have missed out. However, the success of the afternoon, between the thoroughly enjoyable, fun performance and the enthusiastic audience participation, reminded me how the meaning of a story in a picture book doesn’t stop when the reader is considered too old to have them read aloud. These stories came alive in the form of mini dramatic works. The older children really understood the humour and drama of the stories in a way that our youngest children might have missed. Most importantly they loved it!
I took the opportunity to buy a few of Julia’s picture books that we don’t have in our collection. These might be the focus of my next few picture book reviews.
“There’s harmony in the air when the animals get together for a concert with a difference! Koala’s playing his flute, Badger’s bashing away on the drums and Squirrel’s strumming on the guitar. Sing and dance along – you’ve never seen a show like it!“
Firstly, I’m looking at a picture book that I can use with our kindergarteners (three and a half and upwards). This one fills two gaps – the first being that we need some new titles aimed at really young children, many with English as a second language and the second that our PYP Music specialists have asked for more titles that feature music, musicians and/or rhythm.
This title is one of a series where Julia has partnered with illustrator Nick Sharratt to produce books for younger readers. They emphasise simple rhyming text. I do think Julia is a master at meaningful rhyme – there’s never a word out of place and the words all make sense – nothing is chosen just because it rhymes, but because there is a connection.
This would be wonderful used in a wriggle and rhyme type public library setting as well as by music teachers for mini musical acts.
I’m going to read this to the three and a half year olds tomorrow. I have every reason to think they will love it!
Author website: JuliaDonaldson.co.uk
Animal music / Written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Nick Sharratt.
Published by Macmillan, 2013.
All the picture books for sale today were supplied by Graham’s Paper Plus in Glenfield, who have some signed copies of Julia’s stories.