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Little Tails in the Forest

Written By Frederic Brremaud
Illustrated by Federico Bertolucci
Published by Lion Forge
Format: Hardcover, Color, 9 x 9 in, 32 pages, $14.99
Ages: 4 and up

ISBN: 9781942367253

Review

Journey with your tour guide Squizzo through the forest.  With a wealth of forest knowledge on his mind, Squizzo shares everything he knows about each forest animal they encounter and its environment.  From a caterpillar to a boar, Squizzo and his friend Chipper escort readers on an exciting journey to meet with Squizzo’s cousin and her new baby squirrel. 

An aesthetically pleasing early reader comic, Little Tails offers educators a solid nonfiction foundation from which to teach students about the forest and its animal inhabitants.  So solidly engaging, I would personally recommend that early reader Language Arts and Science teachers adopt this story in both classroom settings, for it easily lends itself to teaching both the elements of story and scientific classification.  

Language Arts Elements of Story

Plot: Squizzo and Chipper journey through the forest and meet a host of animals along the way.

Major Characters: Squizzo, Chipper, Squizzo’s cousin and baby

Major Settings: forest, pond, field of flowers

Themes: Friendship, Animals and Nature, Overcoming Fears, Identity, Curiosity, Safety

Lesson Plan Recommendations Using the Common Core Standards for Early Readers

Integration of Knowledge and Ideas

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.3.7: Explain how specific aspects of a text's illustrations contribute to what is conveyed by the words in a story (e.g., create mood, emphasize aspects of a character or setting).*

*  The number(s) referenced above corresponds to the number used by the Common Core Standards (www.commoncore.org)


Guided Writing Lesson Plan for Early Readers

  1. Plan - Ask students to organize into groups of three.  Once grouped together, ask them to take a picture book walk through the text, being sure to place most of their attention on the images.  When they are done doing a picture book walk ask students to predict what they think may happen in the story when they read it in its entirety with both images and words.  Write their responses on the board and save them for the “share” part of this guided writing lesson plan.
     
  2. Teach - While reading the book, ask students to read to each other, with one person playing the role of Squizzo, another student playing the role of Chipper, and, finally, a third student playing the role of the narrator.  While reading students should have a worksheet with each of the characters names/roles in the story, followed by a large blank space.  As they read students can take notes on each of the three main characters/roles.  

    When they are done reading students should collaborate to write a paragraph or two summary about each of the three characters/roles. 
    • A total of 3 - 6 paragraphs, 1 - 2 paragraphs for each character/role
       
  3. Conference - As they write their paragraphs teachers can move from group-to-group to discuss student writing and answer any questions students may have.
     
  4. Share - When students are done writing in their groups ask the entire class to share their responses.  Record student responses visually in front of the class (including fine details mentioned in their paragraph summaries) in order to create an entire class collaboration about each character/role in the story. 

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Dr. Katie Monnin is an Associate Professor of Literacy at the University of North Florida. Besides the joy that comes with reading comic books and graphic novels, Dr. Monnin enjoys a Peter Pan-ish life of researching and writing her own books about teaching comics, graphic novels, and cartoons: Teaching Graphic Novels (2010), Teaching Early Reader Comics and Graphic Novels (2011), Using Content-Area Graphic Texts for Learning (2012), Teaching Reading Comprehension with Graphic Texts (2013), and Get Animated! Teaching 21st Century Early Reader and Young Adult Cartoons in Language Arts (2014); Teaching New Literacies in Elementary Language Arts (2015). When she is not writing (or sitting around wondering how she ended up making an awesome career out of studying comics and graphic novels), Dr. Monnin spends her time with her three wiener dogs, Samantha, Max, and Alex Morgan Monnin.