Susanna Leonard Hill has a feature on her blog called Perfect Picture Book Friday. It is a list of “perfect” picture books recommended by all sorts of people. I chose this book because I didn’t see any books on the PPBF list that talked about gossiping. I think it is important to teach kids not to gossip and this book does it really well!
By Eileen Spinelli
Illustrated by Anne Kennedy
32 pages – ages 5+
Published by Albert Whitman & Company on June 1, 2012
Theme/Topic – Gossip, Rumors
Opening and Synopsis –
“One morning, Officer Blue Fox came to Miss Fox’s classroom. He spoke to the students about safety.”
Ever since Officer Blue Fox came to visit Miss Fox’s class, rumors have started! Bear saw Officer Blue Fox stop Miss Fox on her bike; she must have done something wrong! The students start to see Miss Fox around town doing strange things like getting a disguise of a big hat and sunglasses. When they find evidence that she is leaving town they all conclude she is going to jail and needs to escape! Do the children have it right or are they guilty of spreading too much gossip?
Why I liked this book – I love the message of this book and it is a good one to teach. It is so important not to start rumors and not to gossip about people. Gossip is a kind of bullying and I think that maybe some kids don’t understand that. I also love the way Mrs. Spinelli tells stories. She has a very important message in this book, but it is mixed with a lot of humor and it is told in a very kid-friendly way. I also like the funny illustrations (especially all the shocked looks on Miss Fox’s student’s faces! I think teachers could use this book in their classrooms to teach their students about how gossip can be harmful. I think kids 5+ will
enjoy like LOVE this book!
Activities and Resources –
You can play a kind of game to show how gossip can spread lies around. You can start with a gossip phrase like “I saw Bob get into a police car.” Ask your kids what they think that means. They will probably say it means Bob is in trouble. You can say other reasons Bob might get into the police car, like his dad is an officer or the police found the bike Bob lost yesterday. Then explain that if someone started telling all kinds of people that Bob was in trouble with the police, it’s wrong and it can really hurt Bob’s feelings.
Teach your kids that gossip can actually hurt people and it is a kind of bullying. HERE is an article about teaching your kids that gossip is hurtful at Livestrong.com.
I found a teacher’s guide on how to stop gossip in their classrooms at Orca Books (Click HERE).
To learn more about Mrs. Spinelli and her other AWESOME books, please visit her website HERE.
To find more Perfect Picture Books please visit Susanna Hill’s blog HERE