This is a Taco!
Published by: Lion Forge
Written by: Andrew Cangelose
Illustrated by: Josh Shipley
Format: HC, Color, 32 pages, $15.99
Did you know that squirrels can rotate their ankles completely backwards?
A work of creative nonfiction, This is a Taco! stars a squirrel named Taco. Taco really enjoys teaching the reader about squirrels, but when it comes time to teaching the reader about the squirrel’s natural predator the hawk Taco is all about some fictionalized fun. By literally inserting himself into the story, Taco alters the nonfiction text lesson about squirrels and hawks, changing it to reflect his interest in his favorite food: Tacos!
In this early reader, Taco teaches young readers that sometimes it’s ok to switch from becoming a reader to becoming a writer of your own story, especially when you might be eaten if you don’t take charge.
Elements of Story
Plot: Taco is a squirrel that loves to eat tacos. During the nonfiction telling of the story that features him as a squirrel, however, Taco gets a little uncomfortable when the writer tells the reader about the squirrel’s number one predator, the hawk.
Major Characters: Taco, Garbage, Barry, squirrels, hawks, tacos
Major Settings: Forrest, Trees, Ground, Picnic Blanket, Nest
Themes: Reading and Writing Relationships, Animals, Nature, Prey and Predator
Lesson Plan Recommendation Using the
Common Core Standards (CCSS) for Young Adults
Common Core Standard(s)
Integration of Knowledge and Ideas:
Use information gained from illustrations (e.g., maps, photographs) and the words in a text to demonstrate understanding of the text (e.g., where, when, why, and how key events occur).
Directions for Lesson Plan
Educators can ask young readers to demonstrate comprehension of this work of creative nonfiction by asking them to identify how the illustrations and the words work together to tell the story. A simple timeline divided into two halves (the first half representative of the nonfiction events in the story and the second half representative of the fictionalized events in the story) will help students identify not only the moment the story turns from nonfiction to fiction, but also the events that help support each of those categorical labels.
As they read, and on the left side of the timeline, students can list the nonfiction knowledge they learn from Taco about squirrels.
Above the middle demarcation point in the timeline (shown with an outlined arrow and line above it) students can write down the page number and an explanation for how they know the story has transitioned from a work of nonfiction about squirrels to a work of fiction about squirrels. Ask students to think about the following question: How do you know the story is no longer about Taco the squirrel telling you about squirrels and now about Taco the squirrel and his own needs in the story? What happens to change the story?
On the right side of the timeline students can list the fictional knowledge the learn from Taco about Taco.
Download the full lesson plan with graphic timeline here.