Friday, November 5, 2010

soscientry

Oh, how I love The Little Red Hen story! (Last night Duncan, now 8, and I retold it with a blue elephant obsessed with her jewelry collection, a purple flamingo with a thing about shoes, and a maroon monkey too busy with charter school business to help the Little Red Hen do any of the work towards a warm, crusty loaf of bread. Ahem.)


But before my first-graders delve next week into the many versions of LRH that I've collected over the years, I wanted to make sure we did some reading for information as well as some talking about why BREAD is part of social studies (which is, I always say, "learning about how people get along together."

This beauty of a book, like its predecessor by the same author and photographer, Pumpkin Circle, is pure soscientry...you know, that stimulating combination of "real true facts" about something socialstudies/ scientific (like how wheat becomes flour becomes bread for everyone) and language to describe it that plays like poetry. George Leventhal and Shmuel Thaler's book Bread Comes to Life: A Garden of Wheat and Loaf to Eat includes this passage alongside terrifically informative photos taken from an imaginative variety of angles:

"This baker makes his bread from scratch
by sowing wheat in his backyard patch.
Soon those seeds send down roots
and sprout into shoots
of bright green grass.

The days pass and that grass
grows into sturdy blades,
tall and straight, finely made
with budding heads and bristly hair
gently waving in the air."

While Becca didn't find out "How dos it tac bred log in the uven?", Stand and Ryan did get an answer to "What in gredints is bread mad uov?", and everybody enjoyed working with their air-bread (next week we'll make real playdough):

"Dump it. Thump it.
Dust it. Knead it.
Squash it. Stretch it.
Toss it! ...
Punch it down.
Give it some shape.
Let it rise again.
Put it in to bake."

I believe that this kind of soscientry is not as rare as it used to be in children's literature. If you've got a similar gem to share let us all know--I don't attend Non-fiction Monday very often so I'm sure I've missed out on some recent developments.

Join the canine(and other) poetry fun at Teaching Authors this week.

1 comment:

  1. Heidi, That's a neat combination of words - soscientry! I am thinking immediately of Jane Yolen's WELCOME TO THE GREEN HOUSE...you think? And everything that Nicola Davies writes about animals is like poetry, though not as metrical or rhyme-y.

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