I’m putting together a list of “Books That Move You” for an upcoming presentation I will be doing for the California Library Association State Conference in November (I’ll make sure to share that list in a future post). The title of this blog is the title of a really great and interactive book I’ve read to my preschoolers every October. It’s become a Halloween classic, though the word “Halloween” never even enters the text.
The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything, by Linda Williams and illustrated by Megan Lloyd is about a little old lady who goes out into the woods to get some herbs, spices, nuts and seeds, but stays out until nightfall. Walking home she meets a pair of shoes that go CLOMP! CLOMP! “Get out of my way, you two big shoes! I’m not afraid of you,” she said. She kept on walking down the path, but the shoes clomp-clomped behind her. She meets more clothing: a pair of pants that go WIGGLE, WIGGLE, a shirt that goes SHAKE, SHAKE, two gloves that go CLAP, CLAP, and a hat that went NOD, NOD. She tells each one “Get out of my way! I’m not afraid of you,” but they all follow her, making their noises. When she got near her cottage, the Little Old Lady encounters a very huge, very scary pumpkin head that goes BOO! BOO! The Little Old Lady runs home, hearing all those sounds behind her. When she’s back inside her cottage, a KNOCK, KNOCK, challenges her to open her door. Again, the shoes, pants, shirt, gloves, hat and pumpkin head try to scare her. When she bravely proclaimed, “You can’t scare me,” the unhappy pumpkin head asks, “What shall become of us?” But she had an idea. The little old lady gives them all something useful to do. She found a place for them in her garden, as a scarecrow, where they could scare all the birds away.
Students can participate in the reading by getting up and moving to the words. I encourage them to:
“Stomp their feet” like the two shoes that went CLOMP, CLOMP
“Wiggle their legs” like the pair of pants that went WIGGLE, WIGGLE
“Shake their shoulders” like the shirt that went SHAKE, SHAKE
“Clap their hands” like the two gloves that went CLAP, CLAP
“Move their head up and down” like the hat that went NOD, NOD
“Say “Boo, Boo!”” like the scary pumpkin head that went BOO, BOO!
We also act this out as a play with used children’s clothes that I find at the local thrift shop–a pair of hiking boots, a white shirt, a black top hat, a pair of white gloves and a plastic Halloween trick or treat pumpkin (jack-o-lantern) bucket. Don’t forget the little old lady props–a hat, shawl, apron, and a small basket with a handle. Each of the seven children in the play gets the appropriate prop(s) for their part. The remainder of the children in the group who are not in the play, but watching the play, participate by chanting and acting out the story with their body parts. The little old lady dresses up in her clothes. The child who is the pair of shoes, holds the small pair of hiking boots (one in each hand) and stomps them on the ground when he hears his part CLOMP, CLOMP; the child who is the pair of pants holds the pants with two hands and WIGGLE, WIGGLES them from side to side; the child who is the shirt holds the shirt with two hands and SHAKE, SHAKES it up and down; the child who is the pair of gloves puts them on his hands and claps them together when he hears his part CLAP, CLAP; the child who is the hat puts it on his head and moves his head up and down with a NOD, NOD; the child who is the pumpkin head holds the jack-o-lantern bucket and moves it back and forth in front of his face saying, BOO, BOO! In the story when the little old lady is sleeping (actor who is little old lady pretends to sleep), the children place the items on a children’s coat rack or clothes tree to make the scarecrow. If you do not have a small clothes tree (I used one I had in the Dramatic Play Area), lay the clothing on the floor to make the scarecrow.
The children love this story and can’t wait to have a part in the play. We read it over and over again. It is both scary and fun! The text has lots of repetition and sounds/actions, making it a perfect cumulative story for an interactive read-aloud.