Laura Numeroff and Felicia Bond have created a whole series of "If You Give a ......" and children love them. These teaching ideas will provide suggestions for vocabulary activities, exploration of the structure of the story and opportunities for students to create their own stories.
Gather the students together in a comfortable story spot and show them the book If You Give a Moose a Muffin. Ask them what they see on the front cover. Ask if they think the book will be funny. Why or why not?
Point out that there is an author and an illustrator. Explain to the students that Laura Joffe Numeroff grew up in New York and that she is the youngest of three girls. (Ask your students to remember this particular fact for when you turn to the dedication page). Laura thought that she might be a fashion designer but changed her mind and followed her dream. She works from home - often in her pajamas!
After discussing what an illustrator does tell the students a little about Felicia Bond. She wanted to be an artist from the time that she was five years old. She lives with her cats and her horse in New Mexico.
The Dedication Page
Turn to the dedication page in the book and explain to the students the reasons for this page (to honor or thank someone special to the author or illustrator). Remind the children about Laura's family and then read her dedication. Ask the students who they think Felicia Bond has dedicated her illustrations to. Suggest that when they make their own books that they may wish to add a dedication page.
After Sharing the Book
Let us explore some If You Give a Moose a Muffin teaching ideas.
blackberry: It is a compound word. Find other compound words in the story (homemade, another, grandmother, cardboard, something, clothesline)
Make a list of all the contractions in the story. Show the two words beside each (he'll - he will)
scenery: Draw a picture of the moose on a chart or on the chalkboard and invite students to add background pictures. Explain to them that scenery is the "background" for the characters or puppets in a play.
"M m" activities:
Provide the students with large cut out letter M's. Invite them to decorate them with macaroni pasta shapes or pictures cut from magazines that begin with the letter "M". Show them how to draw a large oval shape (an elongated 0) and then add their M's to make antlers on a moose.
Draw letter M's on clean Styrofoam meat trays and provide students with large blunt needles and yarn to stitch around the letters.
If You Give a Moose a Muffin teaching ideas should also include a math component.
Ask students to look carefully at the illustrations and find patterns.( They are on the floor, wallpaper, table and furniture.) Invite students to replicate the patterns they find on their own paper.
Make muffins with your students. This activity provides a wealth of measuring activities. Place all the ingredients and tools that you will need on a table. Have on display a simple recipe for muffins. Make sure that each child has a turn to do some part of the recipe. (e.g. each child could drop a tablespoonful of dough into a muffin cup)
"M" is for Map
Divide the class into small groups and provide each group with a large sheet of paper, crayons, markers or paint. Ask each group to make a story map of the book. Suggest that the first point of interest should be the house and then illustrate the journey of the boy and the moose (into the kitchen, into the family room, out into the garden, back into the house ) Point out that the journey and the story becomes a circle.
Make a Story
Students will be eager to make their own stories using this technique. Gather everyone into a circle and start off the story by saying "If you give a goat a gift.." (or something similar). Ask each child to add something. Guide the narrative so that by the end of the circle you are back to the original thought. After oral practicing encourage students to make up their own "If you give a..." stories.
If You Give a Moose a Muffin is a book to explore, to make up puppet plays, to try to copy the chain reaction pattern, but - most of all- to enjoy!
Numeroff, Laura. If You Give a Moose a Muffin. HarperCollins, 1991.
Laura Numeroff, www.lauranumeroff.com/
Mouse Cookie Books, www.mousecookiebooks.com/play.asp