Nanette’s Baguette by Mo Willems

I’m about to fly out to NCTE in Atlanta, but I want to post a new review before I head off for the conference and Thanksgiving break!

I was so excited to share Nanette’s Baguette (2016, Hyperion) by Mo Willems with my children’s literature students last week. We did some fun multimodal activities with the text. I’ll share a teaching idea below!

In line with other books by Mo Willems, Nannette’s Baguette does not disappoint. Its words and pictures are colorful and vibrant. Nannette’s mom asks Nanette to “get the baguette,” but Nanette’s hunger overcomes her and she returns home with the baguette in her stomach!  But the story only repeats itself when Nanette’s mom comes out with her to get the second baguette….

Here’s what I LOVE about the book:

(1) I can’t help it. I LOVE that it’s a book about bread. As a bread lover, I needed a book like this that validates my complete and utter obsession with eating an entire baguette before dinner.

(2) Okay, okay, this will be a serious reason. I love the story of how Willems composed the pages. The visual nature of the book is so amazing, and I shared this quick video with my students so they could see the process.

(3) Willems has the ability to move stories along with his energetic language. Full of words that rhyme with – yep! you guessed it – baguette, Nanette’s Baguette is sure to be a read-aloud favorite – for adults and kids alike!

Teaching Idea

It just made sense for me to have students respond in multiple modes to Nanette’s Baguette. Here’s a snapshot of what I did in my lesson with preservice teachers. I think there are ways to adapt this lesson for students in all grades.

  • I introduced the idea of multimodality by showing DJ Earworm‘s Summermash ’16 and Jacob Frey’s short digital film “The Present.” My students and I discussed the modes present in these texts. You can use these texts or select others that fit your students better.
  • Students previewed the text by creating a list of all of the modes (e.g. fonts, illustrations, etc.) in Nanette’s Baguette.
  • Students created tableaux, or frozen pictures, of the book’s major scenes. My dad (a theatre professor) and I have been doing tableaux with our students for decades. We were way ahead of the mannequin challenge!  I had my students photograph each others’ tableaux.
  • Students created collages with magazine clippings to represent the book’s major scenes or how they felt about the text. Students photographed their collages.
  • Students created an account in Adobe Spark and selected a song that went along with the book.
  • Finally, students created a short digital film using Adobe Spark in which they incorporated multiple modes (movement, visual art, and music) to recreate Nanette’s Baguette in different modes or convey their reaction to the book.

I’ve done the lesson a few times and in a few variations. What I love about it is it provides students the opportunity to react to a multimodal children’s picture book in multiple modes. I’d love to hear about the multimodal activities in which you and your students engage.

Rating: img-thingimg-thingimg-thingimg-thingimg-thing

If you like what you see, you can share this post with your friends and colleagues via your social media account! Happy reading!


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