Thursday, November 15, 2012

Follow the swallow

I enjoy discovering books with a repeated refrain.  “I don’t believe you” say Chack and Apollo as they compare their flying, food choices and habitat.  I also like to make links between books.  An old favourite for many generations is the classic book Don’t forget the bacon.  In Follow the Swallow by Julia Donaldson Chack, the Blackbird, sends a message to his friend Apollo, the swallow, who has flown to Africa.

Just like Don’t forget the bacon, with each repetition the message is changed…

Come to the tree
Jump in the sea
Grumpy like me
Monkey for tea
One, two, three whee!

If you have not read a book by Julia Donaldson you are in for a real treat. She spoke and performed at the IBBY Congress and now I understand why her books are filled with such wild exuberance. Julia Donaldson herself bursts with enthusiasm for books and libraries and music and reading. After you read Follow the Swallow you should read Tiddler which is also about the way messages can be changed as they are passed along… like a game of Chinese whispers.

We don’t have blackbirds or swallows in Australia but that means there is plenty to explore here.  What is bird migration? Why do birds migrate? What are some other animals or birds that change their colouring as they grow older.  Perhaps you should also revisit the Ugly Duckling.

This book also made me think of Moonbear's Pet by Frank Asch which is about the change of a tadpole into a frog and Lucy Goosey by Margaret Wild which is a delightful book to read aloud.

I have now discovered Follow the swallow is already in our school library in a small edition - a Banana book.  I will add the picture book copy next year and it can sit beside Julia Donaldson's most famous book The Gruffalo.

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