The library can be very overwhelming for someone like me.
So many choices! So many authors! So many subjects!
I usually take one or two sections and thumb through for the books that jump out at me. I might, on my way to check out, stop by a favorite author, or look up a favorite title.
This week, I was thumbing through a section of books, I came across this one:
I thumbed through it and saw that it was a story about a wolf who keeps trying to sneak up on a pig to eat him, but the pig, by no effort of his own and completely unaware of the wolf, slips by unharmed in each situation. At once I put the book back. "They already play too many games based on Abiyoyo, Jack and the Beanstalk, and big mean bears. They don't need another book with the antagonistic bad guy!".
Then I took it back off of the shelf and into my heaping pile of books to check out.
Isn't that exactly the reason I should check that book out? What if--what if--they like this book more than any other in the batch? What if the element of risk and fear that is driving their imaginary play is exactly what they need right now? What if I just listen to the children's cues and go with it, rather than trying to resist the recent "bad guy" theme of their play? What if I put this book back on the shelf and lose the opportunity to find my next favorite children's book?
Well, I put a dozen library books on the bookshelf this morning and guess which one was THE most popular book? Suddenly!!!! The problem solving and figuring out of the plot that is required to really comprehend this book is at the perfect level for the four-year-olds in my group. Plus, this book plays on their latest enactments of the three little pigs, which have driven countless team work and problem solving situations in the classroom. I really couldn't have asked for a better book in our classroom this week.
Oh, and you should have heard the conversations that they had about this book. Small groups of children would huddle around it, talking about each page. It was beautiful.
They enjoyed it. I enjoyed it. 'Nuff said!