This read-aloud poem is called A Hundred Half-Priced Hippopotami. It’s about a little boy who is pressured into buying more hippopotami than he actually needs…
I was walking briskly to the shop,
When a Jolly Man yelled out, “STOP!”
He asked me what I planned to buy;
I said bread and he said, “WHY?!”
“BUY THIS HIPPO, FORGET THE BREAD!
USE IT AS COMFY, SQUISHY BED!
THIS DEAL ISN’T GOING TO LAST!
HIPPOPOTAMI ARE SELLING FAST!”
The sleazy salesman in the story uses all kinds of ridiculous tricks and tactics to talk the young lad into buying his hippos (he only went out for bread and milk). The themes in this one might be a little convoluted for our little audience but I think it’s worthwhile having a chat about them. Children are assaulted with a barrage of advertising every day. It’s important to teach them the tricks advertisers use to make them want stuff they don’t need. It’s great for inferential thinking skills to identify things like product placement in movies, impulse item placement in shops, etc.
Reading aloud to your children gives them an incredibly strong message. Without words you are saying, ‘I am not washing the car or reading the paper or watching the news. I am sitting here with you, reading a story about a little dog whose family don’t recognize him when he gets dirty. I am enjoying sitting in bed with you, sharing the fun, the fears and the fellowship of this magic moment. You are the centre of my world.’
-Paul Jennings, The Reading Bug… and how to help your child catch it, pg. 17
I had the great pleasure of reading The Reading Bug… and how to help your child catch it by Paul Jennings on a short trip I took earlier this week.
Wow. What a book.
It’s bursting with so many amazing, holistic ways to approach reading instruction. Jennings has a wonderful view of the world and the way we learn and grow. He talks about reading as being an act of love and care between children and parents.
I agree. Learning to read is a deep, emotionally driven experience. Make it a pleasurable experience for them because we seek out what brings us joy. If reading brings your children joy, they WILL want to do it more. The more they do it, the better they’ll get at it and all that.
Read Paul’s amazing book if you’re looking for a laugh and some great ideas.
Have a great week!