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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Is This Fiction or Nonfiction?

This week I am reading another out-of-print book to the students. They loved how Louis Slobodkin shaped the words Too Many Mittens with red mittens instead of a font. They remembered previous discussions about color separation, and some even noted that the illustrations looked a lot like those in The Hundred Dresses. Perceptive, I say, and in tune with visual literacy. Some were counting as more and more red mittens appeared at the house and were put in the small drawer by Donny's and Ned's grandmother. Some chanted "red mitten" at the right time without any urging from me. There were giggles, of course, when the boys' mother and father bring them "beautiful red mittens" as a gift from their vacation!

My favorite comment of the day came from a first grader who asked, "Is this fiction or nonfiction?" At the end of the book, the Slobodkins provide wonderful advice to readers: if you have lost a red mitten, come to Donny's and Ned's house and look on the "Lost Mitten Line." Clearly, when an author reaches out with the word you, the line between fiction and nonfiction is blurred. How wonderful to be so caught up in the story to feel its realistic qualities!


  1. How did you answer that young reader?

  2. I asked what they usually do not want to hear: "What do you think?" A discussion followed, and the children helped each other determine it was fiction. That said, one child today asked for Ned's and Donny's address!

  3. I love reading your blog & always come up with a new list of books to get from the library.