Can You Make a Scary Face? New York: Beach Lane Books.
Appetizer: A lady bug gives orders to the reader, encouraging them to react physically to the text and to pretend that a tiny bug is on the tickle attack.
The illustrations are simple. As the lady bug converses with the reader, the backgrounds include many different solid colors, that a teacher could encourage students to label. Throughout the short picturebook, the ladybug makes a lot of different expressions to keep the close-ups of his/her/its face interesting.
I absolutely love how this book encourages its readers (listeners!) to react physically to the text. This would be an excellent read aloud for preschoolers.
Exercises to Go with the Meal:
Preschool students will absolutely love being able to make faces, stand, sit and dance around as the ladybug in the book commands. A teacher may have to be extra careful with the page where the lady bug commands the reader to "blow" the bug out of their mouth. I imagine it could unintentionally turn into a class spit-shower. Very icky. A teacher may have to remind kids not to blow the bug at any of the other students.
On a more positive note, as students learn to read (or more likely at this age--memorize) the text, a teacher can have students take turns reading the book aloud, allowing a child to give commands to the other students (and the teacher!) to do silly dances that go beyond those of the story. A teacher should also be willing to give students' the time to dance around for a few minutes instead of going through the book to quickly. This is how I intend to use Can You Make a Scary Face? when I use it with my undergrads next quarter. Who me? Mean to the wee-little undergrads who would hate more than anything to actually have to move during a class? No, never! I force them to have We have fun.
To move beyond the immediate text, a teacher could have students pretend the bug landed on more parts of the body (elbows, feet, knees, etc.) than are actually included in the book. This way, the students could focus on learning and practicing the names of more body parts.
Another option would be to have students plan in advance what their scary face will be. The kids could even make masks for themselves in art class.
Also, many different colors are included throughout the text. A teacher could encourage students to name the colors they see.
"Hey, you! Yes, I'm talking to you! Stand up!"
"No, I changed my mind...sit down!"
"Okay. Are you ready? Let's pretend!"
Tasty Rating: !!!