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Animal Music



Last updated Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Author: Harriet Ziefert
Illustrator: Donald Saaf
Date of Publication: 1999
ISBN: 0395952948
Grade Level: Kindergarten    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Mar. 2007

Synopsis: From School Library Journal: Two stories with broad appeal presented in an oversized book. Both texts have delightful rhythm and cadence and beg to be read aloud or chanted. In "Mr. Lion's Marching Band," an array of animals strut in bright red uniforms with matching caps and gold epaulets. Each musician's stance suggests movement in harmony with the text. "Music and feet /Music and feet./I know a march/by the sound and the beat." In "Sheep's Dance Band," perky mice, ducks, rabbits, and pigs are gussied up in plaids and stripes; a kitty in homespun plays the fiddle; the hen hums into her little kazoo; while the rooster, of course, sings "Cock-a-doodle-doo!" Saaf's illustrations are rendered in a kind of folk-art style with sometimes oddly proportioned childlike simplicity. There is a perfect integration of text and picture. Pages awash in bright greens, aquas, reds, creamy pinks, and yellows are the backdrop for droll animal forms. Thin black line is used to outline each figure and mark the horizon. This hint of black complements the typeface and completes the whole. The text is a combination of couplets and other rhymes, concentrated on double-page spreads between several bordered crisp white pages with longer stanzas.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  Look at the cover of the book. What is the difference between a chicken and a rooster? (Chickens are a type of bird. Females are called Hens and lay eggs. Roosters are the males and have striking plumage, marked by long flowing tails and bright pointed feathers on their necks.)
•  Can animals play instruments? Can they sing? Can they talk? Have everyone choose an animal and make the noise that animal makes.

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  Have you ever seen a marching band perform? (In a parade, on TV, etc.)
•  What kinds of instruments are the animals playing? Do you play an instrument? What instrument?
•  What kinds of noises do the instruments make? How do you say it in English? How do you say it in Spanish?
•  How can you make music without an instrument? (Snapping, clapping, stomping, singing, humming, whistling, etc.)

Craft ideas:
•  Make an animal mask of one of the animals that you saw in the book.
•  Draw a picture of your favorite instrument and cut it out to play it.
•  Bring ahead option: Make a tambourine using two paper plates, a stapler, and beans. Put two paper plates together, one face up and one face down so that it creates a hollow center. Staple all the way around to seal the plates, leaving a hole at the top to insert beans. Put a few beans inside the plates (a small handful—if it is too full, it will be hard to make a good sound). Staple the hole at the top. Now you have a tambourine!

Special activities:
•  Have a marching band in your classroom. Use the masks and instruments that you made.

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don’t have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!