Tuesday Tales: The Big Cheese of Third Street by Laurie Halse Anderson; Illustrated by David Gordon
January 12, 2010 in Art activities, Elementary Educators, Gordon, David, Halse Laurie Anderson, Making Personal Connections, Making Predictions, Personal Connections, Picture Book, Preschool to 1st grade teachers, Reading Skills, six traits of writing, Tuesday Tales Tags: 6 plus 1 traits of writing, David Gordon, Laurie Halse Anderson, picture books with voice, The Big Cheese of Third Street
*Picture book for preschoolers through second graders
*Young (and tiny) boy as the main character
*Rating: You might be more familiar with Laurie Halse Anderson’s novels, but this picture book is funny with a terrific voice! A modern-day take on the old-David-and-Goliath theme.
Short, short summary: The Antonellis of Third Street are BIG. Their friends are BIG too. Well, everyone except Little Benny, the tiny Antonelli. The big Antonelli kids like to play WITH Benny, which means they stuff him into snowballs, tape him to toy airplanes, and let the dogs walk him. As you can imagine, Little Benny is very unhappy and tired of being tiny. The way he finds some peace and quiet is to climb up high on top of street signs, fire escapes, and telephone poles. He can climb fast and high. So, the day of the annual Third Street block party, one of the activities is to climb a greased pole and grab a big hunk of cheese. All the big Antonellis and their big “friends” try it. But who do you think can do it?
So, what do I do with this book?
1. Who hasn’t felt like little Benny sometime in their life? Some of the students in your class may be the youngest sibling. Others may be tired of being told, “You can do it when you’re older.” This book is perfect for talking with students about self-esteem and their self-image. Point out that maybe Little Benny is small, but he is the best climber. Give your students some drawing paper and ask them to illustrate a picture of themselves and one activity they are really good at. Older students can write some sentences to go with their illustrations.
2. If you are teaching the 6 plus 1 traits of writing, this is an excellent book to use for voice. The Big Cheese of Third Street has a unique voice. Read the book out loud to students a few times. Talk about Laurie Halse Anderson’s word choice, and the way she sometimes speaks to the reader. You can use this book with older grades as an example of good voice, too.
3. Can students use their prediction skills and predict what’s going to happen when they see the big greased pole in the first scene of the block party? The author tells the reader that everything changed on Third Street after the block party. What do they think is going to happen and why? What evidence is there in the book to support their opinions?