Jenna Satcher's Reviews > There is a Bird on Your Head!

There is a Bird on Your Head! by Mo Willems
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Sep 10, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: critiques
Read in September, 2012

1. This belongs in the Controlled Vocabulary (Geisel Award) genre for picture books.

2. This book belongs to the “Elephant and Piggie Book Series.” Gerald the Elephant discovers that a bird, or a family of birds, landing on your head can ruin your day, but when he turns to his friend Piggie for help, the day is saved!

3. Critique:

A) This beginner’s book incorporates simple but expressive illustrations and word bubbles to add meaning to the text and allow even beginning readers to decode the story behind the words.

B)The illustrations in the story are simple but add humor and expression to the characters and the storyline. Gerald and Piggie, the main characters are drawn with a multitude of facial expressions throughout the book to provide the readers more depth to the story. The illustrations themselves are simple, but the detail provided in them add to the beginning-reader-friendly text. Each page of the text is limited to a maximum of one sentence, sometimes simply one word, dialogue, but when the reader examines the illustrations the character traits come to life and the reader is able to connect with the characters and the story. Seeing both Gerald and Piggie’s reaction to the birds on Gerald’s head provides humor, and the more the reader examines the illustrations the more laugh out loud funny this story becomes. In addition to the simple but detailed illustrations of Gerald, Piggie and the birds, the illustrations of the dialogue bubbles change size and color to coordinate with the speaker and the emotion behind the speaker. This is especially helpful for young readers as they work to decode the words and comprehend the meaning behind the story.

C) One of the best examples of the simple illustration which provides the reader insight into the character’s thoughts and traits comes on page 8 of the text. On this page, Piggie simply states, “There is a bird on your head.” The statement itself involves little to no humor or expression but the illustration portrays to the reader the terror and fear in Gerald’s mind as he is on his knees, with nervous eyes and hand. On the other hand, Piggie is simply stating this fact matter-of-factly. In fact, he finds it to be humorous himself as illustrated by the slight smile on his face and the hand placed near his head to demonstrate the relaying of his factual message. The difference in the two characters as illustrated on each page of this book creates a book full of humor and fun. On top of the illustrations of the characters, the dialgoue box illustrations help the readers understand the emotion behind the character’s as well. The best example of this comes from page 10 and 11, where the only dialogue box contains the word “Aaaaaaaaaggghhh” but it takes up two entire pages of the book. This one word, alongside the illustrations, showcase the extreme fear of Gerald upon finding out there was a bird on his head.

4. This book is an excellent example of a book for beginner readers. It can be used to help students learn to decode words and to understand concepts of print and how to comprehend a book. The high level of expressive of the story and length help make it a great read aloud for both learning and fun. The story is beautifully and simply illustrated and follows a logical sequence so students could be asked to predict what will happen next in the story. As the story progresses students can be asked to predict what will happen once the two birds are on Gerald’s head, what will happen after they make a nest, and where they will go when they leave his head. On top of this, the book can even be incorporated into a simple life science topic on animals. It can be used as either an introductory book to a science lesson or a supplementary book which can be tied into the science lesson with questions or activities. On top of that, the story could be used to help teach young children how to handle a situation when someone is bothering you, as in the case of Gerald and the birds.
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message 1: by Sue (new)

Sue I had so much fun reading this outstanding critique - it brought the book to life for me!


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