Well, hello again. It’s been of a crazy/fun beginning to the semester, but alas, here I am. And I’m excited for today’s review of Rock-A-Bye Romp (Nancy Paulsen Books) by Linda Ashman (Here’s my review of her Henry Wants More!Henry Wants More!) and illustrated by Simona Mulazzani.
Here’s a quick summary …. We’ve all heard and probably memorized the lullaby that begins with “Rock-a-bye, babe, / in the treetop.” And this is just how Ashman’s book begins. But if you think you know where this book is going, you’ve got another thing coming. Or actually a pig. And a duck. Oh and some whip-poor-wills (which is just really fun to say!). And, ultimately, the mother of the cute toddler in the boat on the cover (which is my favorite illustration within the book by the way) realizes that the lullaby is a bit strange. Because, of course, babies are not supposed to be in the treetop.
Of course, this is just a fun read aloud for toddlers and elementary school students. But I also think there are other was ways you can incorporate this book into a classroom. I like what I did with my Brown Girl Dreaming post in terms of adding teaching ideas to my review, so I’m going to do the same here.
(1) The illustrations are AMAZING! The cover art illustration is particularly beautiful and is even more magical in its full-page spread within the book. Mulazzani should definitely be praised for her work. I am always telling my students to think about mentor texts (examples of the types of writing they want to do). And I think Rock-A-By Romp‘s illustrations are a great way to help students understand the idea of a mentor text. To introduce the idea of a mentor text, I would ask students to pick one of their favorite drawings from the book and to replicate it in their own way with the medium/a of their choice. Elementary and secondary students can do this activity, and teachers can differentiate conversations based on mentor texts, art medium/a, and how pictures can complement a story so well depending on students’ abilities and grade levels.
(2) I like what Ashman does in terms of taking a popular lullaby and putting a fun, creative spin on it. She answers the question What happens after the baby and cradle fall? I might ask students to remix a popular lullaby. Allow students to choose a lullaby, altering or extending it in fantastic ways. This activity will help students focus on the original’s text and then consider carefully the elements they want to extend or change.
I’d love to know what you think of Rock-A-Bye Romp in the comments below!