- Follett Titlewave
Herbert Timberteeth begins to conduct a choir of animals singing his rhyming song about what animals like when suddenly some of the anmals change his lyrics and sing about what they REALLY like.
Mr. Timberteeth (a beaver) becomes flustered. He stops and restarts the song only to have more and more animals sing their true preferences rather than the lyrics he wrote.
When the conductor gives up in exasperation, a mouse implores him, “Don’t give up. Just let us sing about what we really like, not what you think we like!”
Mr. Timberteeth asks the audience their opinion about allowing the animals to sing their own version. He cautions the audience that it won’t rhyme and will sound silly.
The audience wants to hear what the animals really like. Thus ensues humorous pictures and lyrics of worms bowling and kangaroos playing ping-pong, etc.
But wait! There are still more surprises.
The warthogs change their minds. At first they said they liked to blow enormous bubbles. Now they say they like to parachute.
And the mice like cheese. Cheese? They like something that mice are “supposed” to like!? Yes.
The song ends with the animals declaring, “But most of all we like singing for you! Thank you for listening to our song!”
Anti-bullying campaigns are very popular these days.
This book is pure genius!
It teaches children in a very fun way how to be assertive.
Maybe we can’t change all the bullies, but we can arm children with the knowledge of what personal rights they should claim in any relationshp.
It gets across the following assertiveness points:
I have the right to think for myself.
I have the right to choose for myself.
I have the right to change my mind.
I have the right to speak for myself.
I have the right to decide what is “right” for me.
- I have the right to be heard.
The author-illustrator, Fiona Robinson, teaches so many wonderful truths in such a seemingly simple, happy book.
She demonstrates the fact that bullies will try to discourage people who stand up for themselves by being negative (“It won’t rhyme,” “It will sound silly”).
She shows how that when one group leads the way in standing up for what they want, others are emboldened to follow their lead.
OK, so the book is “good ” for the kids. Will they like it?
My 1st and 2nd-grade library class students were totally engaged, laughing out loud at the unexpected turn of events and the humorous pictures.
Did they get the point? Yes.
When I asked them what was the point of the book, they eventually came to “I can decide for myself what I like.”
The illustrations, created with pen and ink and marker pens are wonderful, too. T hey further extend the lessons of bullying, stereotyping, and assertiveness.
For instance, when the animals sing the lyrics written for them, their faces reflect boredom, robot-like compliance, fear, or perhaps even repressed anger. Conversely, when they express their true interests, smiles and happy energy abound.
The detailed drawings provide so much to study that this is the kind of book students can read over and over again and still find something new each time.
Brava, Fiona Robinson!
Highly recommended for lower elementary readers.
Awards/Lists: Children’s Books of the Year 2012.