Thursday, November 8, 2012

Texture, emphasis, and anthropomorphism

Haha, no, I didn't try to teach my second graders the word "anthropomorphism," but we did discover that many authors and illustrators tell stories of animals with human characteristics. Why? Because it's funny, and it makes the story much more interesting. Take, for example, the book I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen, in which a bear goes searching for his missing hat (much funnier than a regular kid looking for a hat).

 I came across this book last summer, laughing out loud in the bookstore as I read it, and have been so excited to share it with my second graders, who loved it too - they would squeal each time a clue was revealed. It was fun to hear a few interpretations of the surprising ending from the students' perspectives. We discussed the ways Klassen created texture in his illustrations and how the color red was used for emphasis against a neutral color palette, then we left the reading rug and went to our tables to create our own animals involved in human activities, like wearing clothes, playing sports, or even voting!
Here's a link to a video book preview and an enticing review...

Scaly dragon reading a book

this bird's voting for Romney
panda goes to Starbucks

gourmet squirrel

surfing hedgehog... look out!

hamster with all the comforts of home

DJ spider

hat-loving porcupine

skateboarding bear

slam-dunking furry friends

musical trio in a cave

porcupine playing Minecraft

platypi volleyball, of course!

bear on a bike

the music lesson

hibernating porcupine with a heater

bear listening to tunes


  1. Thanks for sharing. These drawings are fantastic! I especially love the hamster with all of the comforts of home and the hibernating porcupine. What a great lesson for teaching students to think creatively!

  2. Really great idea! Thanks Hope : )

  3. These are so funny! I just found this book on Friday night and was laughing my head off in the book store!

  4. Great Idea! I used this with my first graders, and gave you credit. Thanks!
    Chris at


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