I drop by second grade just as read aloud is about to begin. The teachers at my school know read aloud is one of my most favorite things so Cecile hands me PECAN PIE BABY. "Here, Carol, do you want to read to them?"
PECAN PIE BABY, by Jacqueline Woodson, is new to me. The story is about Gia, a little girl whose mom is expecting a baby. Everywhere Gia goes, someone asks her about the baby, or does something special for the baby, and Gia is getting very tired of the whole subject. At Thanksgiving dinner, she can't take it anymore. She announces, very loudly, that she is tired of talking about the ding-dang baby.
When we are done, I ask the kids what they think. At first they surprise me with their quiet, it's rare that someone doesn't have something to say about a book. I ask the second graders to rate the book, one to five stars, and to share why. This gets them going.
D is one of the first children to talk. He gives the book five stars. I am surprised to hear him incorporate Woodson's language into his comments, "When my mom had a ding-dang baby, that's just how I felt."
The kids love this phrase, and after that, every comment has something to do with a ding-dang baby. One little girl is the oldest of seven children. She tells us she has had six ding-dang babies at her house. Someone else has a ding dang little sister. Another child has a brother, who she likes, but her mother is pregnant with a new sister, and the little girl is not excited about giving up her position as only girl to the ding-dang new baby.
Two hours later, I am in the lunchroom when two of the second graders call me over. "Thank you for reading the book to us," they say. A makes me laugh when she points to her friend and says, "C's mom is having a baby. But she doesn't want her to. I told her to bring that ding-dang baby to me, because I want a sister."
I am surprised and delighted at the way the kids are playing with Woodson's language, rolling it around in their mouths, trying it out in different contexts.
Definitely a ding-dang great time!