Today's post is contributed by Stacey Rattner, the "leaping librarian" at Castleton Elementary School, just outside of Albany, NY. For the past two years she has run a 10 week Mock Geisel project with a collaborating first grade teacher and looks forward to doing it again this year. You can follow her on Twitter @staceybethr or http://librarianleaps.blogspot.com/.
I cannot wait to get Let’s Go to the Moon! by Erica Silverman and illustrated by Jess Golden into the hands of my first grade Mock Geisel Committee members this fall. As they soar into the story, I know they are going to feel “over the moon” as they successfully read it aloud or quietly to themselves.
Lana wants to go to the moon but can’t find anyone in her family to join her, even her dog, Furry. Instead of giving up, she retires to her room to build her own rocket. When she finally lands on the moon she meets moon man, moon woman and two moon boys, Super-Nova and Ninja-Nova. Only after a full day of moon fun (and that’s an understatement), does Lana realize she misses being home. Where else can you bake moon cookies with your family? Yum!
With a page turning plot and repetitive text throughout, I think this is a likely contender for the Geisel award. The second page alone has “moon” written four times.
When I talk about the Geisel award with my students, I ask them to describe at least one page where the illustrations help tell the story. Silverman’s light water color pictures help move the story along and certainly work to aid our young readers with the text. It starts as quickly as you can read page 1. “Mama and Papa were raking the leaves.” Having trouble with figuring out the words “raking” or “leaves”? Let your eyes wonder just a bit and there’s Mama and Papa busy with their yard work And while you are at it, make sure to check out Mama’s cute flowered gloves.
The sentences are short and always stay on one page, which really helps our emerging readers. Are there some challenging words? Sure—trampoline (although the illustration helps), gravity, Earth (perhaps?), Ninja (but that might be a word kids just know now), are just a few. I don’t think that’s enough for this not to be a serious contender for the Geisel award.
We also ask our students if the book is a page turner? Did you want to read more? Absolutely! Poor Lana cannot find someone to join her on a moon excursion. Thankfully that doesn’t stop her! She is resourceful and imaginative and puts those traits to work. DO try this at home, friends. How can YOU build a rocket in your bedroom? The possibilities are endless.
We’ve all had that time when we couldn’t find anyone to play with us. This book takes that time and turns it positive. You don’t want to go to the moon with me? Fine, then I will just go myself. I predict that fans of the Don’t Throw it to Mo format and the Bink and Gollie adventures will travel to the moon with Lana night after night while the 2018 Geisel Committee seriously considers where to put a sticker on the cover.