Tuesday, September 22, 2015

A Book To Own And Relish

 Slicing with the Two Writing Teachers community is a pleasure every week.  Thank you Stacey, Tara, Anna, Betsy, Dana, Kathleen, Beth, and Deb.

     I usually only review books on Mondays and Wednesdays, but this time I'd like to introduce a recent fabulous picture book. I can see so many ways it will be a treasure in every classroom from about third grade and beyond. Some younger children might enjoy the concept and the illustrations, but they are rather abstract. If you need something that introduces new ways to think about things, an art project that can integrate beautifully with poetry and language, or one that combines mathematics and relationships, this is the book.




Where do I end and you begin?written by Shulamith Oppenheim and illustrated by Monique Felix

       It's a most gorgeous rhyming book to engage in both the lovely illustrations along with discussions of the connectedness within our world: "Where do I end and you begin? asked the cat of its tail/asked the shell of the snail." It includes questions from nature and more abstract relational questions: "Asked the song/of the bird/Asked the phrase/of the word." Children enter into the pictures sometimes. A favorite page is a boy jumping; "Asked the jump/of the rope" and "Asked the hill/of the slope." There are predictable rhymes, one thinks, and then when the page is turned, other ideas surprise. This time, the "slope" is on a camel's hump. I see wonderful ways of using this in both conversation and in writing. I love that Monique Felix painted two different Möbius strips on the first and second title pages, showing an immediately interesting view of connecting. Is there always a beginning and an end? 

One can use the book for poetry, discovering connections within the classroom community or the wider school community. within nature or between words. I imagine a lot of conversation and brainstorming before writing, talk about systems and the creation of mindmaps. "Where does my story end, and yours begin?" is one sentence I created, although a bit different from the book.  Here is another: "Where do I end and you begin? Asked the bloom of its petals/asked the steam of the kettle?"

There is the mathematical concept introduced at the beginning named the möbius strip because it was first introduced by a mathematician, Möbius, and simultaneously by another named Listly. It's a band that has a half twist, makes an interesting look at connecting, especially if you study Escher's art, filled with interesting meanderings that connect, or do they? 

One final thought. There are big problems in the world that teachers want their students to learn about, and often use books to give information about some of those. Some of the words connected to world issues are 'walls'. Can children create questions that show definitions of "wall" both symbolically or metaphorically?  "Where do I end and you begin? Asked the black of the white/asked the times when we fight?"

I hope that I have explained some ideas well enough, and that you will find the book enchanting just to see and integrate into your days as fits your own students. Here are some page examples: 


one of the title pages with a möbius strip

34 comments:

  1. Thanks for such an enthusiastic sharing of a new book! I think would come up with a lot of ideas starting with this mentor text.

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    1. You're welcome. As you can see, I am excited about this book!

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  2. Wow. This is super. Can't wait to read it. Thank you. Your recommendations are always inspiring.

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  3. Where does my story end and yours begin? Linda, that's an interesting question to ponder as we think about the stories we share on our blogs. Somehow, they all become part of our greater community of sharing and caring. Requesting the book!

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    1. I really loved this book, Ramona, as you can tell. Hope you do, too.

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    2. Great book for questioning as Ramona says, Linda. I love the idea that it can be used to generate poetic thoughts. Thanks, both of you.

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  4. Such a lovely and moving book, Linda! Thanks for sharing it today.

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    1. You're welcome, Tara. Hope it find its way into your classroom.

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  5. Thanks for sharing, Linda. I will have to check out this book. What a great mentor text to get older students thinking and coming up with their own "Where do I end and you begin?" examples.

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    1. It really is extraordinary, a new idea for thinking about connections.

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  6. This book sounds great! I am definitely going to look for it. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. You're welcome, Maureen. Hope you love it too.

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  7. I can hear your book excitement! What a great book. I love how you connect the concepts across content areas and bring in art and poetry and math and history. Adding the book to my wish list!

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    1. Thanks, Lee Ann. Hope you find a way to use it with your students, too.

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  8. What an interesting, thought-provoking book! Thanks for the tip!

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    1. You're welcome, Jane. It is delightful.

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  9. Intriguing! Makes you say, "wish I thought of that." It will be on my search list.

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    1. You're right, there probably was a phrase one time, and we passed it by. Thanks, Elsie.

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  10. Oh my gosh- I've put it on my list Linda. So glad you broke with book reviewing tradition and shared this on a Tuesday (and I am going to check your blog more regularly on Mondays and Wednesdays now!). This book- as you describe it- and its rhymes made me think of Mem Fox.

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    1. Terrific, Lisa, and you're right, Mem Fox creates books with beautiful wording like this, too.

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  11. Couldn't resist the way you described your post. That was a good teaser. Sounds like a beautiful book, Linda. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. You're welcome, Melanie. Hope it is a book that you can love and use.

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  12. This looks perfect for my GT kids. Thank you for giving me yet another fantastic idea.

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    1. Terrific, Kimberley, I'm so glad it will be a good one for you.

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  13. I can't wait to read this book! Thanks so much for the recommendation.

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    1. You're welcome, Karen. I hope you like it.

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  14. What a wonderful idea. Our interconnectedness celebrated in so many ways. Off to Amazon I go!

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    1. Thanks, Julieanne. I hope you'll let me know if you use it in the classroom!

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Having a conversation is a good thing!