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Happy New Year, everyone!  As you settle back into school routines after the holidays, we offer two unique titles – one poetry, and the other book, Imagine! is wordless!  Watch for my video later this month for more teaching ideas, and if you have ideas, we’d love to hear them!

Early Elementary


Animal Tracks: Wild Poems to Read Aloud
By Charles Ghigna /illustrated by John Speirs
868369 / Hardcover / $14.95

We found this delightful collection of poetry earlier this year.  It’s not new (2004), but it’s new to us!  Each page features a poem about a specific animal – or group of animals.  They are meant to be funny, and the illustrations add to the silliness!

Animals featured include an elephant, pig, hippo, camel, penguin, turtle, lion, armadillo, tarantula, goat, bull, dogs, pets in general, the “wild symphony” of instruments, ducks, mouse, zoo animals, possums, weasel, butterfly, hummingbird, frog, snail, flies, sandpipers, seagulls, alligators, and many more!

Classroom Applications:

The poems aren’t long – just perfect for younger students.  These could be excellent transitions between songs in a zoo-themed concert, or possibly an outdoor theme, or a jungle theme!  Students could also create music or movement to go with individual poems, or act out the poem while a student narrates….possibilities are endless.

And don’t forget about the puppets!  This is the perfect book to introduce a variety of puppets to your class to “read” the story to the students.  Watch our video (coming soon) for a demonstration…

Later Elementary 

By Raul Colón
868637 / Hardcover / $17.99

Imagine! is a wordless book about a boy who is drawn into the Museum of Modern Art.  Once inside, the characters in several of the paintings jump out and accompany him on an adventure around the city, ending back at the Museum for them to go back into their paintings.

This book is based on the author’s own story of how he was drawn to art as a child, and how it influenced his life today.   I came across an episode of “The Children’s Book Podcast” by Matthew Wimmer in which he interviewed Raul Colón just before Imagine! came out.  He gives his own perspective about the book and how it came to be.  I highly recommend taking a listen – and checking out the other episodes!  It’s a great podcast.

Classroom applications:

This one is a little more abstract.  Students could work together to create a story to go with the pictures, along with music to accompany Imagine!  You could project pictures of the book while the students perform the music and others tell the story.  An entire class project!

Students could also investigate the famous paintings referenced in Imagine!: Rousseau’s The Sleeping Gypsy, Picasso’s Three Musicians, and Matisse’s Icarus What do those paintings sound like?  What would the individual characters sound like?  How would they move?

Wordless books are a challenge, but also so freeing!  As this book says – students can “Imagine!”


We’d love to hear your suggestions for either of these books, too!  Post your idea on our Facebook page, or send an email to Andrea with your ideas.  We’ll mention them in our monthly video (coming later this month) and add them to the blog!


Happy reading!