Chapter 7: Ideas & Content

Click above picture to go to Mrs. Wills Kindergarten: In Pictures and In Words book study.

This is my favorite part of reading educational books. Give me the how-to’s and examples, so I can try it out and apply it in my classroom. Except, I'm on summer break, and do not have access to what is in my classroom. However, I do have books that are here at home. Chapter 7 has been enlightening for me, as I have not really focused on paying attention to a series of pictures for different reasons. Using my new "eyes", I did spy some of these techniques in Kevin Henkes books . I think his books show using small separate scenes to show different actions, passage of time, movement through different places, and details in a list.

For example, in Lily’s Plastic Purple Purse, we see Lily going through a passage of time showing different emotions as she thinks about her teacher taking away her purple purse. Then we see her growing smaller after she reads a note from her teacher. This shows a progression of time, as she begins to fill badly and begins to shrink in each box. I wish I could hear my students' responses to why they think Kevin Henkes drew her that way.

Another example of using separate scenes on a page in this book shows Lily putting herself in the “uncooperative chair”. This also shows a passage of time and emotion that happens.

Using small separate scenes in a variety of ways seems to be a technique Kevin Henkes uses often in his books. Hmm... I do like looking at my books with different eyes!! Look at these other pages I found him using the same strategy in his other books:

Another book using this technique is Mouse TV by Matt Novak. The Clever School Teacher bookstore also has it! Click on the book cover to go there.

Here is a page showing different ideas of action or comedy:

I have used this book to create a classbook by having my students write compose about what they can do instead of watching tv. This would be a great opportunity for students to drite (draw & write) their ideas in small separate scenes to show what they can do instead of watching tv. Below is something you may want to use in your classroom. The first page can be used to combine the pages into a classbook. The second page can be used for individual responses in a reading response or writing journal. I think this book would be a way to show using illustrations as a list.

Google Documents link

Finally, a “backstory” are the illustrations that may have character and actions that are not mentioned in the text. This automatically made me think of Jan Brett’s stories- especially her troll and gingerbread baby books. She adds lots of details to the sides of her pages, usually giving clues to who is coming next in the story or showing what is happening in the troll’s homes.

I wish I had some student examples. I am getting some great ideas about the beginning of the school year!

On a different note, I am hoping to post something exciting this Sunday! I have been working on putting it together these past weeks. Check back Sunday to check it out, especially if you would like to start your year using brain-related research! Thanks for stopping by and have a wonderful weekend!

Now that I put a deadline on it... I will have to get it accomplished, even if I have a girls' night out tonight and a wedding tomorrow! I think Katie Wood Ray mentioned that she works better with a deadline. I think I do too!


  1. I love that you featured books that are in most of our libraries to show the examples of techniques. I see a theme... =D


  2. Mouse TV is one of my all time favorite books...Illustrations are certainly important to this story! Thanks for the freebie. Have fun at the wedding...I love weddings!

    Owl Things First

  3. Thanks for sharing. I have those books at school. I will add them to my list.

    The Very Busy Kindergarten

  4. So sorry I did not stop by yesterday... Girl! I love these examples. It is funny how some of the books you know and use a bunch have these techniques in them. When you go back and see them, it is like, "How did I miss this?" Brilliant suggestions!

    Mrs. Wills Kindergarten

  5. Thanks for giving those ideas! My first author study is on Kevin Henkes, and I was thinking of what a wonderful illustrator he is. I have a couple of awards for you. Stop by and pick them up when you get a chance :)

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  7. I found you at the TBA linky & am giving you some awards! Please visit my blog: to claim them.


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