the surprise by Sylvia van Ommen is a new wordless picture book I picked up this weekend at our local Cover to Cover shop. I knew I was excited but didn't really understand how excited I would become. I spend the afternoon in a Literacy Connection workshop with Franki Sibberson. Franki was talking about mini lessons and books we could use to foster strategies, literary elements, and genre. One of her messages was how powerful wordless picture books are for getting students at all grade levels engaged with strategies, literary elements, and genres. I couldn't recall the title and my description of the book didn't recall anything familiar for her. If you have ever spent time with Franki then this is a huge accomplishment. She knows books, she collects books, she talks fast about books and inspires all to do more with books.
the surprise is about a fluffy sheep, a big fluffy sheep who rides a moped. Yes, a big fluffy sheep riding a moped is a darling illustration you must see. Sheep rides the moped to shop with lots of bottles in different colors. Sheep rides home and pours the red paint/dye all over its' body. I have never dyed my hair and found the steps sheep takes fascinating. Sheep pours dye, watches a clock, rinses, uses a blow dryer, and then shaves it off! Now sheep is naked and needs to wear a sweater. Sheep takes the red fluff to Poodle who begins spinning it. Sheep mopeds back home and begins to knit. If you have ever knitted, knitting takes time. What is sheep making is a natural question burning for any reader right now. I just can't tell you because the ending is expected but unexpected and just too darling. Please go out and find this book. It just can't be missed!
Back to my time with Franki today. She encouraged us to find books we could use in mini-lessons. I would use this book to talk about characters and the relationship between Sheep and Poodle and ? (I can't let you know the ending). I could also see this book being a fun book to spend time retelling to help understand plot. I'm sure the theme of caring and/or friendship would easily come up too.