Monday, October 24, 2011

Caldecott Medal Monday, 1968: Drummer Hoff

Drummer Hoff, Adapted by Barbara Emberley, Illustrations by Ed Emberley

A chicken in the oven and sweet potatoes needing peeling means this will be a fast one, literary friends. But not devoid of fun, by any means!

Ed Emberley won the 1968 Caldecott Medal for the illustrations in Drummer Hoff--Barbara Emberley's adaption of a cumulative folk song featuring seven soldiers building a fancy cannon. The illustrations are bold and colorful and very unique. This artist would never be featured on my walls, but I can surely appreciate his work in a picture book.

The folk song itself is entertaining and fun and useful. Grab lots of repetitive rhyming books if you have babies, preschoolers or early readers in your home. These books help students learn to rhyme--a crucial pre-reading, auditory-discrimination skill that's more mysterious than we parents think. I've had many children over the years ask me if bat and ball rhyme--maybe not this exact example, but this general misconception, that rhyme refers to things that go together, not things that sound the same at the end.

Learning rhyme is as easy as hearing tons of rhyming books and nursery rhymes. It isn't something you actually teach; you expose them to it consistently during early-childhood years, and they get it--usually by early to late kindergarten, depending on how much exposure they've had. I taught in a low-income neighborhood, and it was never a given that my first graders would have this mastered. Poverty means, sometimes, no car to get to the library, and no value placed on books as a family experience.

Cumulative (Drummer Hoff), repetitive (The Little Red Hen, The Gingerbread Man), and rhyming books also help motivate preschoolers and early readers. Language learning should never be a chore. It should be a loving, fun-filled part of every childhood.

Your kids will recite Drummer Hoff for days after a reading, and you'll never tire of it. It will just make you smile.

Since it's a folk song that's been generating for years, I can type it for you here.

Drummer Hoff fired it off.

Private Parriage brought the carriage, 
but Drummer Hoff fired it off.

Corporal Farrell brought the barrel.
but Drummer Hoff fired it off.

And on and on until it looks like this at the end:

General Border 
gave the order,
Major Scott
brought the shot,
Captain Bammer
brought the rammer,
Sergeant Chowder
brought the powder,
Corporal Farrell
brought the barrel,
Private Parriage
brought the carriage,
but Drummer Hoff fired it off.

Hint for you homeschoolers: There are great sound-family spelling lessons hidden in here for older students.

Go away, big green monster! [Book]

We also have this Ed Emberely book, Go Away Big Green Monster, (teaches colors) which my kids all love. As you turn each page, more and more of a silly monster is revealed. Then, as you keep turning them, all his features go away, one by one. Great fun!

Glad Monster, Sad Monster [Book]

I haven't seen this one yet, but I'm sure it's silly-nilly good!

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