Saturday, February 19, 2011

Picture Book: My Heart Is Like a Zoo by Michael Hall

I was immediately endeared to My Heart Is Like a Zoo (ages 3-10) by Michael Hall.  Each lovable animal in the "zoo" expresses a different aspect of the speaker’s love.  The book begins with the following poetic verse: 

My heart is like a zoo—
eager as a beaver,
steady as a yak
hopeful as a hungry heron
fishing for a snack…

The same framework is used until the end when the tired zookeeper (small boy) cuddles up in bed with all his animals surrounding him.  Using die cut shapes (primarily hearts), a menagerie of animals is created---from the sea, the land, and the air.  My Heart Is Like a Zoo is versatile enough that it can be used for teachable moments from early childhood to elementary school.  

Lesson Plan and Learning Extension Ideas

Younger children can…

  • identify circles, rectangles, triangles, and squares  
  • count the number of hearts (or other shapes) that make up each animal
  • name colors
  • identify animals
  • connect to a zoo or animal unit
Older children can…
  • recognize sound devices like rhyme and alliteration
  • recognize similes (and practice creating their own)
  • identify adjectives and nouns (parts of speech)
  • classify animals into groups—sea, land, and air
  • distinguish fantasy from fact
  • create animals using various shapes similar to the illustrations

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