Susanna Leonard Hill features Perfect Picture Book Friday on her blog. This is a wonderful resource if you are wondering what books to give as gifts, needing material for a lesson, and mainly just perfect for those who love to read picture books. Here is a list of books by category. This is very handy for finding books for lessons in the classroom, or for finding books on a particular topic to discuss with your children at home. Each book listed has a link to a review and information about that book. There is also an alphabetical list.
My book today is:
Boris and the Snoozebox
Written and Illustrated by Leigh Hodgkinson
Ages 3 and up
Tiger Tales 2008
Themes: Pets, Animals, Mail
Synopsis: All Boris wants is a long catnap in his new cardboard box with no trouble whatsoever. But suddenly–STAMP, STAMP, scribble, scribble–the box is taped up and zoomed off to doorsteps all over the earth and beyond. . . . Every time Boris drifts off to sleep, someone opens the box and wakes him up. Beady eyes peek inside and loud voices shout, “This is NOT what I ordered! I DON’T want this cat!” (They want a prickly plant . . . giant teapot . . . or remote-controlled space butterfly.) This quirky cat tale proves there’s no place like a loving home–especially if that home happens to have a plumpish pillow perfect for snooooooozing.
Opening: “Boris doesn’t have a bed. Actually, Boris doesn’t have a home. This is A-OK most of the time because he is busy scampering, licking, balancing, and looking cute. However…it is not OK when he is tired, grouchy, and in desperate need of a long catnap.”
Resources: I didn’t find any resources on the Internet, but I have a few ideas of my own.
1. The illustrations in this book are wonderful. They are mixed media collages, so there is a lot of texture. Since Boris spends a good part of the story in the cardboard box, I think children would like making their own version of the box that Boris travels in. They would each need a box and packing materials. A variety of packing materials would make it interesting. Bubble wrap, newspaper, cloth, corrugated cardboard, etc. Along with this, students would need to make Boris. Personally, I think it would be great to just have them draw him and add the textured look with crayons or colored pencils.
2. After reading the book, have students brainstorm other places and people that Boris could have been mailed to. Map them out and and choose what each person would’ve been expecting instead of a cat.
3. Have students make a map of the classroom or school. Give the desks or rooms an address-complete with the name of the town, state, and zip code. Make a box with a paper Boris in it. Address and send to one of the desk or school classroom addresses that they have created. The receiver of the box would write a note saying what they expected instead of Boris…and why they had particularly wanted the other item in the mail. Then they would send the box on to a different address, which could be easily changed using sticky notes. By the time the box had made the rounds of the classroom or the school, it would contain all of the notes. Students could map the progress of the box. If the box was sent from desk to desk, the notes stating what they had wanted in the mail and why could be a really fun creative writing project. The teacher could have the criteria set forth…such as give three reasons you wanted the item. Also, it would be good practice for formatting mailing addresses and for mapping.
4. Creative writing: If you were to receive a pet in a box, what would it be and why.
Why I Like This Book: As each recipient turned Boris away, I wanted to turn the pages to see where he would go next, and to see where he would ultimately end up. I believe children will have the same reaction. Even though Boris is getting turned away, there is a fun, humorous element to every scenario. So while I did want Boris to find someone to love him…I got quite a few chuckles as he went along his box-in-the-mail journey. I loved the mixture of fonts and the placement of the text on the page. It added a fun element to the story. The illustrations were an extra treat for me. Leigh Hodgkinson’s mixed media collages were unique and appealing. I did go back through just to take in the detail of her artwork.