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'If students can't learn the way we teach, we must teach the way they learn' (Ignacio Estrada, via Tomlinson)

PoMo with the Preps (Yes, really!)

Posted by Lisa Hill on November 26, 2009


As readers who have visited my Goodies to Share page know, I have developed an author study of the author/illustrator Bruce Whatley, and I teach it every year with the Preps in Term 4.  This year, courtesy of the Casey-Cardinia Library, I discovered a title we did not have at school…

It’s called Wait! No Paint and it’s a classic example of postmodernism!  Yes, as you can see if you check out my Postmodernism for the Uninitiated blog post at ANZ LitLovers there’s absurdity, playfulness and intertextuality – and the Preps took no time at all to figure this out, (though they’re not quite ready for the terminology just yet LOL).

We began by discussing the cover, and of course they recognised the Three Little Pigs straight away.  We had a lovely time retelling the fairy tale, with lots of huffing and puffing and so forth, and then I drew their attention to the fact that the book doesn’t have the title they’d expect it to.   We noted on page two that there were 73 little pigs creating a crowd rather than a mum sending the pigs out to gain their independence, and then read on till we came to the page with the glass of spilt juice and an intrusive voice that didn’t belong.

 “The first little pig had just finished building his house when he heard a splash. `Oops!’ said a Voice from nowhere in particular. `I spilled my juice.

We counted up the characters in the original tale (twice, in case we’d made a mistake) and came to the conclusion that this voice was some kind of extra character.  Pressing on, we thought it was a bit odd when the house made of straw collapsed in a soggy heap  – and little brows were frowning in perplexity ‘because that’s not how the story’s supposed to be!’

When the Big Bad Wolf copped a blow to the nose and had to have it rubbed out and repaired, the game was up.  ‘It’s Mr Bruce Whatley’, declared Daniel.  ‘Yes, he’s the drawrer’ said another, ‘he’s writing the story and it’s his juice.’   They thought it was hilarious when the illustrator ran out of red paint (which you need to colour the pigs pink, of course) and instead made the pigs first green and then a floral pattern when they remonstrated about it.  There was grave concern, however, when there was no red for the flames of the fire with which to get rid of the wolf coming down the chimney!  “We don’t want to be in this story any more!’ wail the pigs – and suddenly they’re not!

This is a witty book, which references cartoons the children have seen, and the children loved it.    The last page is in black and white so that children can colour the three little pigs and their placards demanding to be painted.  It’s a nice, light-hearted way to end library for the year, and I’ll be adding this lesson to the Bruce Whatley unit in due course.

 

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