There are many perks to being a children’s librarian (no overdue fines has saved me a bundle over the years) but one of the best parts of my job is getting to know supah-cool authors and illustrators like Leslie Helakoski. Leslie is a Michigan treasure I’ve had the pleasure of knowing for years, and I’m geeked to share her brand new book with you: Doggone Feet.
Dog follows a pair of feet home from the park one day and finds her perfect place under the table. Life is good until two more feet come on the scene:
“They’re twirling leg twisters, toe-tapping kiss-kissers,
rule-listing insisters of doggy shampoos.”
So now the space under the table includes the dog and two sets of two feet, until another pair come along – tiny baby feet. As the family grows the dog must accommodate more pairs of feet in her shrinking space, and she’s not sure she likes the new additions. In the end, though the space under the table is crowded and cramped, the message is clear: families always make room for more.
The first time I read this book, I immediately thought how it perfect it would be for a math lesson. If there were two dogs and three humans, how many feet would be under the table? It’s also a great book to talk about point of view – both figuratively and literally. The story is told from the dog’s perspective, and we don’t see the faces of the humans, just their feet, until the end of the book. You can talk with your students about author/illustrator’s Craft and Structure – why did Ms. Helakoski choose to frame all the illustrations from this different point of view? How might a mouse see life under a dinner table, or a fly over a school cafeteria table at lunchtime? It’d be fun to have students spend a writing session on the floor under their desks, to inspire them to write and draw from a different point of view.
Then I saw the terrific trailer that Leslie’s son, Connor, made for her book:
How cool would it be to combine book-trailer technology with a math lesson centered around Doggone Feet?! Using a free app like Educreations on the iPad or a program like iMovie on computers, students could make a mini-movie to retell the events of the story (check off Key Ideas and Details on your Common Core State Standards score card) either by drawing the action or physically acting it out, adding up the feet as you go. With all the wonderful rhyme and wordplay, it’d be great for Reader’s Theater! Doggone Feet will be so doggone much fun for your students!
For more information, please visit Leslie’s website at helakoskibooks.com.