This week the second graders are listening to Ted and Betsy Lewin's GORILLA WALK, published in 1999. From the opening lines about Oscar Von Beringe's 1905 shooting of the first mountain gorillas seen by western scientists, they are enthralled with the narrative. I confess to being a bit apprehensive as a librarian about their reactions (and what they will talk about at the dinner table) to the descriptions of what poachers and hunters wanted to do with the gorillas and their parts. In one class, as a result, a discussion ensued about wearing furs! They were not in support of the practice.
The best (?) thing happened at the end of the book as I read about gorilla facts. When I asked what it meant to walk quadrupedally, they were stumped. Until I asked the meaning of the prefix quad-. A tiny girl in the front row (who was extremely against furs, emphatically stating, "I can't go there", suddenly said, "Four!" She then told how gorillas walk on their knuckles and proceeded to demonstrate the quadrupedic walk! In seconds the other 24 children were down from the story steps and walking like gorillas on the rug. Expect the unexpected in the library.