Notes from the Wild : Turnip Trouble

It’s been a wee bit since I did one of these posts, but I had a most entertaining and educational experience recently that was absolutely tailor-made for an edition of Notes from the Wild.

It all started with a group of preschoolers and a Jan Thomas picture book, which would normally have made for a winning combination. Thomas’s picture books are story time perfection, and I’d had great success sharing them with the group in previous story times. The book I’d chosen, A Birthday for Cow, is similar in formula to the massively popular Is That Wise, Pig? Mouse, Pig and Duck are making a birthday cake for their friend Cow, but Duck keeps trying to ruin things by putting a turnip in the mix! The comedic twist reveals that turnips are actually Cow’s favourite​ food, and that Duck knew what he was doing all along.

I read the first few pages, expecting to be met with peals of laughter.

What I got instead was…..

 

Silence.

Silence and bemused expressions.

I couldn’t understand it. They’d loved all the other Jan Thomas picture books. Why was this one falling flat?!

And then it hit me.

“ Does everyone know what a turnip is?”

Ah.

Makes sense, of course. We never ate turnips at home when I was a child, and I certainly wouldn’t have known what a turnip was when I was four years old, either, but I’ve been a grown-up for so long that I’d forgotten!

So, take it from me and make sure to read through your picture books with a careful eye before you share them with a group, and make note of any terms that might not be familiar to your audience. Taking a moment to explain unfamiliar words will help your audience enjoy the story better, and  you’ll also be helping them add new words to their vocabulary! Everybody wins!

And no more tumbleweeds.

Notes from the Wild: Vol. 15

Notes from the Wild: Vol. 15

Cities around the world are marking June as the first-ever Pride Month, and to celebrate, we’re taking a look at a few young adult titles that feature bisexual protagonists or strong secondary characters. These five novels explore, discuss, and celebrate young people’s explorations of their sexuality and gender identity and emergent identification as bisexual, and feature teenagers from different ethnic […]

Notes from the Wild: Vol. 14

Notes from the Wild: Vol. 14

  Five Finds is a sporadic feature on my blog in which I share five books that match a given theme/subject/topic. Topics so far have included Fiction for Budding Cupcake Moguls, Picture Book About Birds and Wordless Picture Books. The themes/topics for my Five Finds posts are inspired by actual interactions I’ve had with patrons […]

Notes from the Wild: Vol. 11

Notes from the Wild: Vol. 11

Singable picture books, which are are either illustrated versions of children’s songs, or have text that can be sung to a simple or familiar tune, are a staple component of my library children’s programs. I love these books for so many reasons: Singing is a great way to support language learning – you typically sing […]

Notes from the Wild: Vol. 9

Notes from the Wild: Vol. 9

When it comes to reading, most kids tend know what they like, and they’re often happy to keep on reading what they like. This usually works out well, until the day comes when a child finishes the last book in a favourite series. Some kids react to this with aplomb, and are perfectly happy to […]