Please welcome author Stephanie Campisi and author/illustrator Neesha Hudson to Dynamic Book Duos– a blog featuring two books that pair together in a meaningful way along with coordinating educational activities to strengthen reading skills. This week’s Dynamic Book Duos pairing features: Are You Looking at the Entire Picture?
PERFECT PAIR: Are You Looking at the Entire Picture?
Both Quacks Like a Duck written by Stephanie Campisi and illustrated by Maria Lebedeva and Turtle in a Tree written and illustrated by Neesha Hudson are charming and witty explorations of what happens when you leap to conclusions or form opinions using limited information.
Yes, Petunia of Quacks fame has a bill, and webbed feet, and can lay eggs, but does that make her a duck? And in Turtle in a Tree, one dog sees glimpses of something in a tree that has to be a turtle, while the other is convinced it’s clearly a squirrel. Paired together, both books offer a great opportunity to discuss why we hold certain viewpoints, whether we’re considering the whole picture, how to explain our point of view, and how and when to take others’ opinions into account.
Book 1: Quacks Like a Duck
When Petunia the platypus shows up to a costume party sans costume, no one knows quite what to make of her. If not a duck, what exactly is she? Petunia feels desperately out of place until another party guest arrives dressed up as a platypus, breaking the ice and reminding Petunia that good things can come in weird packages.
Quacks Like a Duck is a celebration of finding your people anywhere you go – even if it’s in costume and on the other side of the world!
Book 2: Turtle in a Tree
A greyhound swears there’s a turtle in the tree. A bulldog says it’s a squirrel. After all, a turtle in a tree? Who’s ever heard of such a thing? But their argument leads to a most surprising discovery . . . that maybe neither one of them is all the way wrong, or all the way right, and friendship is all about listening to someone else’s perspective.
A spare and laugh-out-loud-funny picture book about seeing only half the full picture . . . and admitting when you’re not quite all the way right.
Educational Activities: Quacks Like a Duck, Turtle in a Tree, and Are You Looking at the Entire Picture?
1. Guess Who? Choose an animal and pick three different attributes to describe it. (For example, it has stripes; it’s a carnivore; it’s domesticated; it has cloven feet) Have your class break into small groups, with each group guessing which animal they think it is, and why. How close are they? What other information did they need to land on the right animal?
2. Draw me! Break into pairs. Give one of each pair a picture of an animal, and the other a piece of blank paper and a pen. The person with the animal picture has to describe what the animal looks like – and the person with the paper has to try to draw it. How close are the pictures in the end? Were there any miscommunications? (Protip: Neesha does regular drawing sessions on her Instagram – you can draw along with her!)
3. Create your own animal! Platypuses were famously described as having “the head of a duck, the body of an otter, and the tail of a beaver”. Gather pictures or photos of different animals, and cut them up into head, body, and tail. Combine them into weird and whacky new animals, give them names, and write a description of their habitat, diet, and behavior! Are any of them as weird as a platypus?
4. Character swap! Imagine the dogs from Turtle in a Tree are at Petunia’s party. Which one would say that she’s a platypus, and which one would say that she’s a duck? Why? Then do the same by bringing two of the characters from Quacks into Turtle in a Tree. Who would guess the creature in the tree is a turtle, and who would say it’s a squirrel? Why?