Mo Willems may not be a household name, but he should be. This author/illustrator does it all. He thrills, entertains and makes you laugh all with only a few words per page and simple characters and scenes. If you want a quick treat, grab any of his Elephant & Piggy books at a bookstore and prepare for amusement. In That is NOT a Good Idea!, Willems offers a cautionary tale with a modern twist.
Post format: Q&A
What is a cautionary tale? A story in which a character disregards repeated warnings and suffers horribly in the end. In Willems’s story, a sharp-dressed fox invites a plump goose for a stroll. Adorably drawn baby geese continually chorus, “That is NOT a good idea” as their mother gets closer and closer to a boiling soup pot waiting at the fox’s home in the woods.
How is this tale modern? Willems never goes for the obvious. Many of my posts contain spoilers. However, I won’t reveal the goose’s fate. I will say it involves a missing soup ingredient.
What unique story device does this book feature? Willems frames this book like a silent movie. The characters are drawn broadly and the text pages are stark black with white lettering. The style offers a great opportunity to introduce young readers to a real silent movie. A clip of Buster Keaton had my students clapping and asking for more.
Bonus Bit: If you’ve got four minutes to spare, watch the soulful-eyed Keaton at his best.
Question: Do you have a favorite cautionary tale, old or modern?
*Click on comment button at the top of the post to reply.