Schertle, A. (2009). Button Up! New York: Harcourt Children's Books.
Appetizer: This picturebook shares 15 poems from the points of view of 15 anthropomorphized items of clothing that are worn by young animals.
All of the items of clothing are happy to travel with their animal throughout the day, keeping them safe, comfortable or protected from the elements.
This would be a good book to share with a kindergarten or first grade class. A teacher could pick a poem each day, to reflect the weather or temperature.
The illustration were cute, (I mean, how could animals dressed up in human clothes not be at least a little cute) but overall, none of them ever really struck me or caused an impression. Most pages featured many smaller images of an animal with their item of clothing. Others were full-page spreads that showed a well-dressed animal performing some action.
Good old Bertie,
he lets us hang around.
It doesn't bother Bertie
when we drag along the ground."
"The Song of Harvey's Galoshes
When it's raining Harvey always puts us on,
puts us on,
we're together when the sunny weather's gone,
O there's mud up to our tops,
we hope Harvey never stops"
We're Emily's undies
with laces and bows.
Emily shows us
wherever she goes."
"We are Jennifer's shoes.
We came home in a box.
Now we go walking
when Jennifer walks.
When Jennifer walks,
we step out, too"
"Jamelia's playing dress-up
and we are playing too--"
To Go with the Meal:
This book is just asking to be used with an activity in which students write poems about either a favorite item of clothing or something they wear for a particular type of weather. The students could make sure to put their names in the title. Then if a teacher were to turn this into a wall hanging, the kids could feel empowered to see a poem about them on the wall. Also, if the teacher has the students write from the point of view of the item of clothing, students could work on developing empathy and perspective taking.
A teacher could also discuss the importance of dressing appropriate to the weather throughout the year, (I often feel like I have to have a reminder lecture of this fact with my undergrads) and can show younger students where and when they can get information about the weather.
Since Button Up! includes so many items of clothing, these poems could be read aloud to help young readers learn the names for the items (such as galoshes, bicycle helmet, soccer jersey, etc).
These poems would also be good to share with a student who wears the same item of clothing EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. While it makes wearing an item everywhere seem normal (particularly in the poem "Violet's Hiking Hat") it can still open up discussion about a security item.
Other lessons include bicycle safety, poetic forms, assonance, alliteration, onomatopoeia, hand me downs, growing out of an item of clothing, Halloween costumes, etc.
Tasty Rating: !!!