This Valentine’s Day, I’d like to share with the readers I love (you!) some of the things I love: wonderful pun-packed picture books by my author-crush Lisa Wheeler and free, already-planned activities to make teaching those books super-easy.
Porcupining: a Prickly Love Story and Hokey Pokey: Another Prickly Love Story, both written by Lisa Wheeler and illustrated by Janie Bynum, feature one of my most-beloved picture book characters, Cushion the Porcupine. We first meet Cushion in Porcupining where he is looking for love in all the wrong places. This forlorn hero of the petting zoo finally finds true love with Barb, a hedgehog. Then, in Hokey Pokey, Cushion wants to make his beloved Barb happy by learning to dance. Asking a fox, a rabbit, and a chicken for dance lessons only leads to prickly situations, and once again Cushion seems stuck out of luck. But Barb proves to be the perfect pick for Cushion when she teaches him all the moves he needs, and together they dance the Hokey Pokey.
Comparing and contrasting two stories with the same characters, same author, and/or same illustrator is a great way to teach the Common Core State Standard of Integrating Knowledge and Ideas. On her website lisawheelerbooks.com, Lisa has a free teacher’s guide to go with these books. Use the graphic organizer from the teacher guide for Porcupining (written by super-cool author Tracie Vaughn Zimmer) to compare the main character, the problem, the three ways the character tries to solve the problem, and the solution in both books. Then, print off the adorable recipe cards for Cushion Cookies (made by another super-cool author Hope Vestergaard) and your Valentine’s Day is set!