Read Aloud Hall of Fame #14: IF I BUILT A SCHOOL by Chris Van Dusen
You need a book. A can’t miss book. A read aloud that will cast a wide net and pull everyone in. This is the idea behind The 100 Scope Notes Read Aloud Hall of Fame.
In each post I’ll share a read aloud that has never let me down. Some will be obvious and popular. Others lesser-known. All will be story time gold.
If I Built a School by Chris Van Dusen
I know that the first book in this series, If I Built a Car won an actual read aloud AWARD, but I think this sequel is even better.
It’s a wish fulfillment-palooza as a kid daydreams about the perfect school. Hover desks! Zip lines! PUPPIES! The array of inventive and jaw-dropping amenities is out of control, brought to midcentury modern life by Van Dusen’s crisp Technicolor artwork.
The rhyming text bounces along, with a number of clever couplets (Van Dusen’s pairing of “thinkin'” and “Abraham Lincoln” is especially inspired). I find myself never getting tired of reading this text – that’s high praise.
It’s also a book that can work for so many different reasons. Maybe you read it because it’s the beginning of the school year. Maybe you read it because you’d like to do a project where kids design their own schools. Or maybe you read it because you want a sure-fire storytime winner. Because that’s what If I Built a School is.
Filed under: Read Aloud Hall of Fame
About Travis Jonker
Travis Jonker is an elementary school librarian in Michigan. He writes reviews (and the occasional article or two) for School Library Journal and is a member of the 2014 Caldecott committee. You can email Travis at email@example.com, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.
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