Book of the Week: Annie and the Wild Animals

Every Monday, I highlight a book from our school bookroom along with lesson plan suggestions. I hope you find this useful, and please leave a comment with any suggestions or additions!

Annie and the Wild Animals, by Jan Brett

Before you get started on anything Jan Brett related, you’ve got to stop whatever you’re doing and go straight to visit Mrs. Eltrich or Mrs. Burn. They’ve put together a pretty fabulous Jan Brett author’s study that might be useful.This book has post-its with open-ended questions attached to several pages to use during reading.

This book was originally paired with Caldecott-winning book The Big Snow, but that text hasn’t been added to the mentor text library as of this posting.

You can see Annie and the Wild Animals read aloud here:

I’m pretty impressed with the literature guide here. I honestly don’t know that there’s much I can add beyond that!

There is a CAFE menu included with this mentor text, and I’ve highlighted these as suggested lessons:

  • Compare and contrast within and between text. Spoiler alert! Annie’s cat has kittens. In the past, before Bob Barker’s daily reminders to spay and neuter our four-legged friends, this text might have been a great one to make predictions and confirm them at the end. Older students can discuss how the book would be different now that it’s nearly thirty years after it’s been written.
  • Infer and support with evidence. This strategy could be used regardless of whether students predicted Taffy would have kittens or not. If few or no students are familiar with the signs of a cat about to have kittens, it’s a great opportunity for a discussion of how difficult it is to infer if you don’t have much prior knowledge and how important it is to have heightened awareness of the world around us. If students DO pick up on the signs of Taffy’s pending delivery, proceed with a regular inference lesson.

  • Ample easy reading. If students have read this book (perhaps with Mrs. Eltrich or Mrs. Burn! :)), remind them that in a book as complex and detailed as Annie and the Wild Animals, there’s plenty to return to and explore, particularly if they first discovered the book a year or two ago.

  • Ask someone to define the word for you. Mrs. Eltrich has already printed out vocabulary cards for several challenging or uncommon words in the text. Talk with students about how if you know a word is particularly unusual and you don’t anticipate many will know it, you choose to give them the word ahead of time.

Please add any lessons or supplemental materials to the book bag so future teachers can utilize your good thinking!

Comments and constructive feedback are always welcomed. Please let me know if these lessons were useful in your class!

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