What is This? by Antje Damm was another great find at Cover to Cover recently. Literacy wise this book is perfect to use for seeing three different sight words in text; what, is, and this. This book is perfect for introducing the concept of a question to our youngest learners and how an answer follows. The concept of a question is hard for young learners when their needs are egocentric and they LOVE to share all of their connections. I think my early readers can be very successful with reading this book, once they discover there is a pattern. However, the main reason I picked up this book was to introduce the concepts of collage and thinking differently. A collage is when we can take materials and use them to make something different. To do this, you have to think bigger than the intended use of your materials.
This book is about 6 x 6 inches with a patterned layout. On the left the question, What is This? is printed and an object is photographed on the right page. As you turn the page, the left side is blank with the right page showing you how the artist used the object to make a picture. For example, What is This? then you see a ball of white yarn. The next page is that ball of yarn with a sheep head, tail, and legs out of construction paper attached to it to make a sheep. Another page is the question, What is this? then you see a piece of Swiss cheese. The next page is that piece of Swiss cheese with more cheese added to it to make a cow. I think my students will be able to use different materials found in our art area to create their own pages. Maybe two flaps, resembling a door. The left with the question, the right with the object and then you can open the flaps to see what the student created as a collage using this object. I'm going to try it out this summer at home with my girls.