Thursday, February 07, 2008
Go Away, Big Green Monster!
Go Away, Big Green Monster! by Ed Emberley consists of a series of cut-out illustrations ("two big yellow eyes, "one big green nose," etc.) that build upon one another to make the face of the big, green, monster and then dissolve page by page when the monster is told to go away. The artwork is bold, bright, and simple and each cut-out is just begging to be explored by little fingers. (I mentioned in my last post that there are tons of board books being made from books that are more appropriate for an older audience. Well, here is an instance where I wonder why a book hasn't been published in board book form.)
Children's librarians do a lot of outreach visits to daycares, preschools, and elementary schools. Often, we don't know much about our audiences before we enter the room, so I would always bring a few books that I knew from experience would get a favorable reception no matter what. Go Away, Big Green Monster was one of these and boy, did it come in handy.
Not once, but three times, I found myself in a classroom where, unbeknownst to me before I arrived, the majority of the children spoke only Spanish. The first time this happened, I sweated through a storybook while the kids looked totally bored and disinterested. My Spanish is rusty and rudimentary. However, four years of high school classes and one of college had drilled the question, "Como se dice ______?" into my brain. So, next, I pulled out Go Away, Big Green Monster! and on the nose page, for example, I'd say "Como se dice nose?" The kids had a great time yelling out the Spanish word and cracking up that a grown woman didn't know such basic words. (I didn't mention above, but my other critera for my go-to books was that they elicited lots of audience participation.) It saved my storytime butt on several following occasions, and is a real testament to the fun of the book that it can easily play in another language.