Wednesday, September 3, 2008

My Little Sister Ate One Hare by Bill Grossman

There are certain things that get children's attention, especially in books. In the first few pages of My Little Sister Ate One Hare, Bill Grossman gives readers a number of them: eating gross objects, throw up, snakes, underpants, and smelly feet. (Ok, no one actually throws up in the first few pages, but the snakes and underpants are real, and the socks and shoes are stinky.)

The narrator's little sister has an appetite of unparalleled proportions, spanning the widest variety, not foods exactly, but a wide variety of stuff anyway. She eats one hare. She eats two snakes. She eats three ants (and their underpants).

Each time she eats something new, the narrator comments (hopes?), “We thought she’d throw up then and there.”

Only do be disappointed. “But she didn’t.”

Students will soon catch on to these repeated lines and quickly join in. Their participation will grow in volume and excitement – she’s gotta lose it one of these times! – after each new meal. Maybe it’ll be the bats. Or the frogs. No? Then surely the lizards. C’mon lizards!

Finally, yes finally, patient students are rewarded with a page full of everything she ate during the course of the book. What food could possibly have caused this gastric eruption of massive proportions? (Like I’m telling here! Ha!)

The rhyme and rhythm of each page is flawless. Reading aloud books written in rhyming verse can sometimes be a gamble, but My Little Sister Ate One Hare is exactly as it should be. Readers don’t need to spend time deciphering rhymes, and there are no speed bumps in the rhythm. Read alouds of My Little Sister Ate One Hare can be fast and furious, matching the anticipation of whether or not the little sister will throw up as she eats more and more-er of the strange and stranger.

That’s all I got, folks. I’m off to get a snack.

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