Mr. Schu: Wow! What a fantastic book trailer! I cannot wait to share it with my students. Bravo!
Rebecca, thank you for dropping by Watch. Connect. Read. to chat with me about What Can a Crane Pick Up? I think it is a perfect read-aloud. Did you spend hours reading the rhymes aloud to an empty room? Did you test them on your grandchildren?
Rebecca Kai Dotlich: Thank you, I am happy to say students have been responding even better than I had hoped to its rhythm and playfulness with language. I did read the rhymes (and listened for the cadence) aloud over and over and over again in my writing room. As a writer who adores the crafting of a rhyming picture book or poem, every syllable, word, lilt and line needs to be as perfect as I can make them. (And we all know perfection is never attained.) I did not test them on my grandchildren; because of course they will listen attentively and love every word – I feed them cookies. (But my grandson actually gave me the idea for the book when he asked me as we were driving near highway construction, “can a crane pick up a crane?”)
Mr. Schu: What do you think makes a picture book a great read-aloud?
It’s just my opinion, but I believe a great read-aloud has a mix of whimsical language, repetition, often good rhymes but always an easy rhythm – and brings the listener in by including them in some way. They either want to chime in or answer, or finish a sentence, or . . .
Mr. Schu: What ran through your mind the first time you saw Mike Lowery’s illustrations?
Rebecca Kai Dotlich: I got lucky. That was my first thought. The art had a touch of the comic, a whole lot of whimsy and the cranes themselves had friendly faces, and the colors popped all over the page.
Rebecca Kai Dotlich: If I had to pick one I would say to allow them to play, to invent, to make art with words, to put pairings of words together for the pure pleasure of it and to wonder, to ask, to explore. To look at a thing (a pinecone, a chimney, a tree, a shell, and compare it to something else.) Um, that wasn’t one, was it?
Mr. Schu: I am a huge fan of National Poetry Month, even though I think poetry should be celebrated EVERY DAY. My favorite celebration during National Poetry Month is Poem in Your Pocket Day. Which poem will you carry in your pocket on April 18?
Rebecca Kai Dotlich: It might be Russell Hoban’s “Jigsaw Puzzle” or Rachel Field’s “Manhattan Lullaby.” The next day may be different.
Mr. Schu: Please complete these sentence starters:
Picture books are magical pages of whimsy. Or whimsical pages of magic.
Reading is a portal to imagination.
A crane can be fascinating to watch, especially if you are a young builder by day.
I am giving away one copy of What Can a Crane Pick Up?
Rules for the Giveaway
Rules for the Giveaway
1. It will run from 4/26 to 11:59 P.M. on 4/28.
2. You must be at least 13.
3. Please pay it forward.
Please borrow What Can a Crane Pick Up? from your school or public library. Whenever possible, please support independent bookshops.