Wednesday, March 28, 2012

What Would You Wish For?

Have you read Sylvester and the Magic Pebble?

It's a Caldecott winner from 1969. My copy is quite worn. It has been a family favorite.

The Caldecott award is named for Randolph Caldecott a nineteenth century English illustrator. Each year a book is chosen for its illustrations. Of course the stories are usually wonderful too. I study Caldecotts to see what makes them special and I love using Caldecotts for my elementary school presentations.

We talk about what makes the illustrations unique, and what kind of medium the artist used. William Steig is both the author and illustrator of Sylvester and the Magic Pebble.

Animals are the characters in the story, and they wear clothes and live in houses. Sylvester and his family are donkeys. The neighbors are chickens, pigs, and horses. The charming illustrations are a combination of ink and water color.

In the story, Sylvester finds a magic pebble. When he is holding it, his wishes come true. I read the first part of the story to the children and then, I ask them to pretend that they have just found a magic pebble. What will they wish for?

It's fun to hear what they come up with. I ask them to write about it and I take their papers home with me. Some draw pictures.

I tell the children that the best way to make their wishes come true is planning and hard work. Anyone can make their wishes come true if they work hard.

Still, a magic pebble sounds wonderful, doesn't it.

What would you wish for?

Linda Garner

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