Special Sunday: Red Sled by Patricia Thomas; Illustrated by Chris L. Demarest
January 31, 2010 in Creative Writing activities, Demarest Chris L., Elementary Educators, Making Personal Connections, Personal Connections, Picture Book, poetry, Preschool to 1st grade teachers, Reading Skills, Rhyming Words, Special Sunday, Thomas Patricia, Writing Skills Tags: Chiasmus, Chris L. Demarest, Patricia Thomas, Red Sled, rhyming words
*Picture book for preschoolers (However, this can be used with elementary students during a poetry unit.)
*Young boy as main character
*Rating: Red Sled is a clever book about a night time sled ride for a boy and his dad. Not to mention, there’s wonderfully bright illustrations!
Short, short summary: A sad lad and a sad dad take a red sled down a hill of freshly fallen snow one night. They have a ton of fun until–oops, crash! But falling in the snow is not so bad. When they go home to warm up, they are no longer sad, and now they are glad lad and glad dad. This book may sound simple, but it really is not! Patricia Thomas wrote Red Sled in the form of a chiasmus (ky-AZ-mus). This is a type of ancient writing. Here’s what she says in the back of her book: “This format creates a kind of mirror image, with thoughts, words, or even word sounds flowing toward a center point, then reversing to reflect that order as it reaches the end.” She, then, shows the reader in the author’s note the form of a chiasmus, using her Red Sled book. Very cool!
So, what do I do with this book?
1. The most obvious thing is to write a chiasmus, either as a whole class in a shared writing lesson or individually for older students. This will NOT be easy for anyone, so take your time, have fun, and play around with rhyme and the English language. Pick an easy, well-known, action-filled subject such as Patricia Thomas did.
2. Ask students to write or draw about a time when they went on a sled ride. If you live somewhere with no snow or sledding, then you can ask children to make up a story about sled riding, based on the book Red Sled.
3. This is a great book for oral reading, listening to rhymes, text patterns, and noticing the rhythm to language. Students could actually read this book with teachers because the text is large, or they could repeat after the teacher or parent. A really fun part to read with children is when the dad and boy are on the sled, and the text says, “Go! Go! No! No! Whoa! Whoa! Flip-flop stop.” Have fun with this book!