Are You a Horse? by Andy Rash
*Picture book, preschool through 2nd grade, FUNNY!
*Cowboy as main character
*Rating: On one level, Are You a Horse? is just funny and silly–kids will love it. But teachers and parents can use it for science objectives, writing objectives, and more! I adore books like this.
Short, short summary: Cowboy Roy gets a saddle from his friends for his birthday with instructions that tell him to find a horse and enjoy the ride. The problem is Roy doesn’t know what a horse is, so he has to go around to different objects/animals and ask, “Are you a horse?” For example, he asks a wagon, “Are you a horse?” and the wagon replies, “A horse is a living thing.” So, now he has to find something that may enjoy a ride AND a living thing. He continues on this way, asking various animals if they are a horse, getting all the way to a zebra–SO CLOSE–before he finally spots a horse. But then you won’t believe what he does–check out the book to find the surprise and FUNNY ending!
So what do I do with this book?
1. You can teach science objectives with this picture book. Not only does it go into the difference between living and non-living things, but it also goes into different categories and characteristics of animals. So, in other words, classification. You can use the book as a starting point for the science lesson and goes as far as your children want to or need to depending on age and objectives.
2. You can also teach some language arts/writing objectives by writing descriptions. One reason why the cowboy has such a hard time in this book is because animals/objects tell him only a part of the description each time. Ask students to write a description of a horse before reading this book. Read them the book and ask them to write a description of a horse again. Did they change it at all based on the book and learning how specific you have to be to make people understand?
3. Let students write instructions for the cowboy that they would give him with the saddle on how to use it. Obviously the instructions he receives are not clear enough for him!