Monday, March 28, 2016

Tiny Little Fly (Michael Rosen)

Summary of Tiny Little Fly (Michael Rosen)
As Tiny Little Fly dashes through the jungle, he encounters various large animals (elephant, hippo, and tiger).  Each animal becomes annoyed by the fly and determines to squash him.  However, each time “My, oh my, Tiny Little Fly” darts away.  In a last attempt to catch the fly, the enormous animals are left in mayhem and mud (shown in a 4-page fold out).  The fly wizzes off with a self-assured wink of the eye and a “Bye, Everyone, Bye.”  

In this whimsical narrative, a fly (tiny and ordinary) out smarts and gets the better of large African animals, which is sure to delight young readers. The illustrations are appealing. The muted background and minimal accents of the digitally enhanced pencil-and-gouache pictures focus on the exotic animals and fly.

This book is full of enjoyable, educational opportunities. There are several repetitive phrases like “My, oh my, Tiny Little Fly!” and “I’m going to catch that fly!” Children will quickly catch on and want to “read” along with you each time the phrases come up in the cyclical narrative.

Next, when each animal is introduced, the reader only sees part of it, giving children the opportunity to guess each one.  When you turn the page, a large-scale view of the animal spanning the two-pages is revealed. Guessing the animals is great for interaction, but it is also teaching an essential critical reading skill—prediction—that pre-readers will need later. 

Also, each sequence involves rhyming.  For instance, “Tiny Little Fly sees great big toes…Tiny Little Fly sits on Elephant’s nose.”  Children can practice saying and identifying the words as rhyming, but also it allows for children in later readings to predict what word comes next when they hear the first one, both reinforcing rhyming words and prediction skills. 

There are vivid action words in each sequence, such as “Swoop! Snatch! Swoop!”  These words are repeated twice in the story corresponding to the same animal each time.  Listeners can anticipate and participate in saying them with the prompts in the book. 

Tiny Little Fly is an ideal read-out-loud book for pre-school to kindergarten-aged pre-readers.  Children may also move from being active listeners to eventual readers with the simple, repetitive vocabulary and large print of this endearing picture book.

Extension Activities
  • Reading:  Prediction, rhyming, and sight words.
  • Science:  Learn about African Animals or insects such as the fly.  Discuss the differences between the mammals and insects. 
  • Geography:  Identify Africa on a map and learn some additional facts about the continent. 
  • Art:  Draw with pencil and then paint a large picture of one of the animals (older children) or give a stencil or cut out pieces to create a large scale version of an animal (younger).
  • Story Retelling:  Give several children a part to practice in the story.  Then act it out. The audience can act as a chorus repeating the key parts. 

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