I just have to talk about The Daddy Mountain by Jules Feiffer! It’s short, only a line or two on each page, but it works on so many levels. It’s the story of a girl who climbs up her dad. Here are the ways you can use this text as your book-of-the-week.
Day 1: Read to the class, ooh and aah over the pictures. You could also do a tiny bit of reading work by asking your kids to make predictions.
Day 2: Reread a second time, teaching new vocabulary. There are a few good words to work with here. ’Catastrophe,’ ‘dawdle’ and ‘faint’ are three I’ve taught. When I teach these words explicitly, I get kids very involved in thinking about what the words mean: For example, with ‘catastrophe,’ I might say, “I’ll give you a situation and you tell me if it’s a catastrophe or not.” Or I might have kids turn and talk to a partner about a situation that was (or could be) a catastrophe. Kids could draw a catastrophe on white boards.
Day 3: The Daddy Mountain is great for writing workshop. I’ve used it often to teach students that writers write about moments in time. After reading the book, I ask them how long they think it took the little girl to climb her father. Then I ask them to think of events or activities they can storytell. The rule is, the activity has to be short, like in The Daddy Mountain. We brainstorm various activities, then kids each make a book to tell one of their own moment-in-time stories.
Day 4: I return to the text again and ask kids to dramatize their stories, storytelling the action. Then I ask them to put one or two of those action words into their writing.
Day 5: I return to the text again during writing workshop, asking students to notice how the author put in vivid details, and ask them to tell their stories using vivid details as well.
Other things to notice/teach in The Daddy Mountain: The book has a wishing/wanting structure: a character wants something and gets it in the end. The author talks TO the reader. The author lets the reader in on the character’s thoughts. Authors sometimes end with thoughts. The illustrator draws the father in the story in black and white, and the main character in color until she reaches the top. Then the dad is in color also. Students could do a lot of wondering around that artistic choice.
P.S. It makes a great Father’s Day gift!