Read It. Move It. Share It.
Each month I recommend a picture book for independent dance educator Maria Hanley to incorporate into her creative movement classes in New York City. This is the sixth month of our collaboration. You can read about Maria’s experience with our June book—Jump, Frog, Jump!—over at her award-winning blog.
Jump, Frog, Jump! is a fun movement-themed book written by Robert Kalan, illustrated by Byron Barton, and published by Greenwillow Books (an imprint of HarperCollins). Although it was published three whole decades ago, it uses two popular writing techniques that still make it a fun read-aloud book today.
The first of the two techniques is cumulation--one that might be best known for its use in the classic There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly. Coincidentally, Jump, Frog, Jump! has a fly in it, too…plus a whole bunch of other animals…
This is the snake that dropped from a branch
and swallowed the fish
that swam after the frog
that was under the fly that climbed out of the water.
This excerpt from the middle of the book also shows the use of movement words such as “dropped” and “swallowed” and “swam.” As the action in the book increases over time, you can begin to see how poor little frog gets himself into one perilous situation after the other....which brings us to the second technique I wanted to mention--repetition. Each time poor frog gets himself into trouble, he fixes the situation the same way. You can probably guess how...
How did the frog get away?
Jump, frog, jump!
On every other full-page spread of the book, the sole words “Jump, frog, jump!” appear in bright yellow letters against a bright blue background. I can just imagine a room full of two- or three-year olds sitting on a carpet listening to the story, giggling as they yell out this chorus over and over again. I wouldn't be surprised if at least a few of them also popped up from their seats to jump around every time they repeated the words.
Another quality I like about this book is how Byron Barton adds a richer context to the story through his illustrations. For example, he incorporates some of the animals into the story before they are ever mentioned in the text. Because young children learn to "read" illustrations before they learn to actually read text, details like these don't go unnoticed by their little eyes.
I picked Jump, Frog, Jump! as our June book because it has a summer theme, I thought it would excite young children, and I don't know anyone under the age of six who doesn't like to jump! Let's find out how Maria used the book in her creative movement classes here.