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Garden City School Library: Getting the Picture

Essential Question

How can illustrations help tell a written story? 

Lesson 1 - Jon Klassen

  • Introduction: Ask the students if an illustrator writes words or draws pictures. Explain that sometimes the words in a picture book don't tell the full story; you need to look at the illustrations to get all the details. 
  • Readalouds: Read Triangle by Jon Klassen. Point out how just by changing the shape of his characters' eyes, Klassen shows us how they are feeling.

    Next, read This is Not My Hat, also
     by Jon Klassen. Ask for examples of how the fish's words didn't match up with the actions we could see in the illustrations. Also ask if the kids can describe Jon Klassen's illustration style: does he use lots of colors? lots of details? 

    Hold up several books - some by Klassen, some by others with other distinctive styles - and have the kids tell you if they are Jon Klassen or not just by looking at the cover.

  • Activity: Candlewick Press, the publisher for these books, has activity kits online. This is Not My Hat: p. 8 of this PDF - color a fish - and p. 9 - a maze

Lesson 2 - We Know Something

  • Review: Ask the kids what an illustrator does. Remind them that sometimes the pictures in a book include information that isn't in the text. Today we'll read two books where we know more than the main characters do.

  • Readalouds: Read Life on Mars by Jon Agee. and Good Night, Owl by Greg Pizzoli. When you are done, ask the kids to articulate how the illustrations told US what was happening. What did we know that the main characters didn't?
  • Activities: 

    Life on Mars maze from Penguin, the publisher

    Owl coloring pages drawn by Kate Endle from this coloring book

    Try to find the six hidden objects in this koala coloring page from There is an elephant one, too.

    Take turns finding hidden objects in this video.

Lesson 3 - Zachariah Ohora

  • Review: Ask the kids what an illustrator does. Remind them that oftentimes, an illustrator has a specific, recognizable style. Today we're going to look at Zachariah Ohora.
  • Readalouds: Before reading No Fits, Nilson!, ask the students what it means to throw a fit, and how you can calm yourself down to avoid one. Then read the book, noting the strategies that the characters are using.Next, read Horrible Bear!, in which another character has a fit. Encourage the kids to stomp and yell (but not too loud).  

    Hold up the books and ask what the kids noticed was similar between their illustrations. 

  • Activity: Show Watch this amazing live-action reeanactment of Horrible Bear! 

    At one point, I had traced a small "Read" poster featuring Nilson to use as a coloring page, but I can't find it. 

Lesson 4 - Pets

Standards Addressed

AASL: III.A.2 - Develop new understandings through engagement in a learning group; III.D.1 - Actively contribute to group discussions; V.A.1 - Read widely and deeply in multiple formats 

RI Core: R.I.K.10 - Actively engage in group reading activities with purpose and understanding; SL.K.1 - Participate in collaborative conversations; SL.K.5 - Add drawings or other visual displays to descriptions as desired to provide additional detail 

Rhode Island Cross-Curricular Proficiencies: Communication - Respond to ideas or information expressed by the speaker

Rhode Island School Library Curriculum Priority Skills: 2.1 - Participates in discussions about stories and other texts that have been read aloud; Gathers information from illustrations