When I Grow Up by Al Yankovic
June 9, 2011 in Elementary Educators, Picture Book, Reading Skills, Shared Writing, six traits of writing, Yankovic Al Tags: career day, funny picture books, picture books about careers, silly picture books, Weird Al Yankovic
*Picture book for preschoolers through second graders, contemporary
*Young boy as main character
*Rating: When I Grow Up is true Weird Al Yankovic style. Mommys and Daddys and teachers who grew up in the 80s to “Eat it!” will read this fondly to their kids.
Short, short summary: In fun rhyme, Al Yankovic tells the story of a young boy who has to speak to his class on the subject of what he wants to be when he grows up. He’s been thinking about this topic for a long time, and so he goes into quite a soliloquy about all the possible things he could be. He might be a chef, a snail trainer, a giraffe milker, or a gorilla masseuse. See, you can just see how Weird Al has now taken over the picture book world and created one silly book that kids will love. It’s fun to read aloud, too! On top of that, illustrator Wes Hargis has created wonderful illustrations as this child tries to figure out what he wants to be when he grows up!
So, what do I do with this book?
1. Kids will want to share what they want to be when they grow up with the class after reading this book. They can share orally, and then ask them to draw a picture of themselves in the job. Younger students can write a sentence to go with it while older children can write a paragraph.
2. What do children think about Weird Al’s ideas for careers in When I Grow Up? Talk to them about the silly and the serious ones. Discuss: Do you think it is okay to have some dreams that are unrealistic and some that are easily attainable? Why or why not?
3. This is a great book to discuss word choice, one of the 6 + 1 traits of writing. Al Yankovic has used very specific word choice for the rhythm of the book and to describe the different careers. Discuss why he had to choose the words he did, and how this is not an easy process. What are some words your students particularly liked? Make a class list.
Consider taking one of my online writing for children classes, starting at the end of July through WOW! Women On Writing. Click here for more info.