Saturday, May 29, 2010

ALFIE RUNS AWAY- Kenneth Cadow

Alfie does not like to take baths, make his bed, eat potatoes, or set the table. When his mother tries to throw away his favorite red shoes, Alfie decides things have gone too far, and makes plans to run away. He packs a water bottle, a box of crackers, a flashlight, three books, and his teddy bear and heads out to find a place where people don't make kids throw away their favorite, albeit too-small red shoes. The bag is a little heavy, however, so he settles down on a blanket in the yard…

I read ALFIE to a first grade class on the last day of school. It was 90 degrees outside, and almost that warm in our hundred year old, non air-conditioned building. The kids were excited and/or worried about getting out of school for the summer. Even so, this book brought forth lots of rich conversations. Everyone, of course, had a running away story to tell. There were also several favorite shoe stories. The kids had lots of great wonderings and comments about the book. J thought the mom was not really doing her job- she wanted the mom to lock the door and tell Alfie he couldn't go anywhere. K thought the mom should just tell Alfie they could go get new shoes, exactly like the old ones if he wanted them. M thought the mom should sneak into Alfie's room while he was asleep and replace the old shoes with new ones. P said, "I bet his mom is just trying to outsmart him. She probably knows he isn't going anywhere very far. Or if he does, she will follow him and bring him back when he gets tired."

Books as a way of helping kids explore big issues like the love of a parent or growing up… Could there be anything better?


Ken said...

Hi Carol,
Thanks for your post on Alfie Runs Away! I have my first classroom visit ever tomorrow with first graders. The story takes five minutes to read, then what?! As a high school art teacher, I had thought I might walk the kids through how to draw their favorite pair of shoes, (I still may do that) but after reading about your classroom discussion, I'm more looking forward to helping the kids write their own stories about their own favorite clothing article: what do they hope happens when this becomes too small? Do they remember how they got them? Did they wear them to a special place or event? Have they outgrown something already? Has something ~disappeared~ from their bureau or closet? What do they think happened to it? Perhaps together, we'll write our own big book!

Again, thanks for the ideas!
Ken Cadow

Carol said...

Hi Ken,
I'm always excited when anyone reads my blog, but an author of a book- that's way over the top exciting! Thanks for stopping by today.

The first graders I read this story to would love drawing shoes or telling stories or drawing about a favorite article of clothing.

They would also love:
1) Drawing or writing or telling stories or making a big book about a time when they ran away, or felt like running away.
2) Seeing earlier sketches or galleys of the book.
3) Seeing photos of your kids, your dog, your house, your school, where you draw, you as a little kid, etc.
4) Seeing something you drew when you were their age, or hearing stories about how you started your career as an artist
5) Doing a readers' theater of the book. Put them in threes, let one kid be the mom, one be Alfie, and one be the bear
6) Pretending to pack a bag or drawing a bag and drawing or writing what they would take with them if they were leaving

Good luck!