Saturday, May 23, 2009
GETTING TO KNOW MO WILLEMS
I just received and watched my new DVD--GETTING TO KNOW MO WILLEMS! It is soooo good and it made me happy. I can't wait to share it with my kids next week. Here is what I am thinking--23 minutes of a DVD and then 22 minutes of reading and rereading all of our favorite Mo Willems books. Since next week is our last week of library and the kids are no longer checking out, I thought we would just continue our yearlong celebrations of Mo Willems' books. It will be fun to revisit all of the characters and stories together.
Over the year, we have read several of Mo's books in the library. We created Pigeon hats during our Read Across America Celebration. George from the Dublin Library shared Elephant and Piggie books with us. We have great fun on the website Pigeon Presents. (If you visit this site, I would highly recommend the Elephant and Piggie Dance Game and Hot Dog Dress-Up!) Our art teacher created a great project with 1st graders called "The Pigeon Goes on a Field Trip. I even dressed up as the Pigeon for Halloween.
I had a second grade boy come up to me last week and say, "Well, I finally like reading. I never did before." I smiled and asked him what changed his mind about it--how did he come to love reading. He said, "The Pigeon." That was all he needed to say. I imagine these characters do this for lots of kids.
The new DVD is a great one. I am always impressed with the work of Weston Woods but I was curious about this one--a type of documentary about Mo Willems. Would it be appealing to kids? Well, after watching it, I am sure the kids will love it.
The DVD includes several clips of Mo working with children--reading to them, talking to them, etc. It is nice to see the interactions he has with children and to see their responses to him. It is also fun to hear him read a few lines from some of his books.
Mo (I feel as if we are on a first name basis after watching the video...) also gives us some insights into his books. How they came to be, his work on them, etc.
A special treat--the DVD includes a few words from the Pigeon. He is quite the character and has quite a bit to add to the DVD. Kids will totally love this part.
I have loved Mo Willems' work since I first discovered his books. And I have never been disappointed with a book--he continues to amaze and amuse me. Every book is pretty brilliant. But, hearing what he had to say about his characters made me really see that his understanding of kids goes far beyond just being able to write stories. On the DVD, he says that his only personal requirement when he creates a new character is that it needs to be a character that a typical 5 year old can draw. He believes strongly in the idea of kids creating new stories about characters they love and then creating their own characters. He also said being able to draw a character builds empathy--you need to understand the character in order to draw it. I had never thought of that. Makes so much sense. Like I said, the guy is brilliant.
I am excited to share the DVD with the kids next week. The documentary is well done. There is a good variety of fun, of information and of our favorite characters and books. In the 23 minutes, there are lots of short segments so I am sure this will keep the kids engaged. And it is one I can easily watch (happily) 12 times this week!
Posted by Franki at 9:30 PM