Review Blog

Apr 30 2013

Let's build a playground by Michael J. Rosen

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Photographs Ellen Kelson & Jennifer Cecil. Harper Collins, 2013. ISBN: 9780763655327. Hardcover. 32 p.
Reading Age: 8-10. Themes: Outdoor Recreation, Planning & Design, Measurement, Playgrounds - Design and Construction.  This is a bright, colourful photo journal that chronicles the design, planning and construction of a fantastic playground in Andrews Academy Indianapolis. Kaboom! Consultants, a US national non-profit organisation joined with the students, parents and community in their journey to build a creative play space.
Michael J. Rosen's questioning free-verse comments on each stage of development. At the beginning the wildly imaginative ideas of the students include 'a hot tub a tower, a roller coaster that turns into a rocket'. These are developed into a purple triple slide, climbing walls and much more. The choice of colour scheme needs a vote for consensus - the perkiest green for spring.
Each stage of the procedure is documented through verse, supported by photos that show the active engagement of the teachers and students. The children's voice, enthusiasm and engagement is heard - 'we cooked up a project of our own; we painted dozens of stepping stones.' Factual text boxes add interest using child-friendly terms - the playground equipment weighed as much as 126 students!
This factual account is a great classroom resource: for procedural writing; mapping; technology design; model-making; Maths - measurement; Poetry lessons using Michael J. Rosen's free verse style and his other poetry books including The hound dog's haiku (2011).
Rhyllis Bignell

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