The Amazing Work of David Shannon

Background Information

In my opinion, David Shannon is one of the best children's book authors around. Shannon grew up drawing and writing for pleasure and has always had a gift for it. He wrote and published his first book in 1993 and has been writing and illustrating children's picture books ever since. One of his books is a Caldecott honor book and is read in many elementary classrooms. I was first introduced to his work this year and I still wonder how I didn't know about him before.
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David Shannon's first ever published book, "How Georgie Radbourn Saved Baseball," is an emotional and uplifting tale about a time when a mean dictator made baseball illegal and spring no longer existed. In this book, the mean man named Mr.Swaggert, destroys baseball fields, puts baseball players in prison and in effect, makes it winter all the time. The hero of this story is Georgie Radbourn who challenges Mr.Swaggert to a game of baseball where the bet is that if he wins, he gets baseball back.

Shannon uses different color clues throughout the book to depict the mood. For example, the front cover and the first pages feature dark gray and black colors. However, towards the end, the illustrations begin to brighten, and with them, the mood. The use of color to portray a story is a great skill of his.

This book would be a great read aloud to begin instruction on the seasons. This could be easily incorporated into a science lesson. It could also be used to discuss sports or the topic of standing up for what you believe in. In fact, this book could lead into many great lessons.

No, David! by David Shannon (The original story with sound effects)

No David (1998)

"No, David" is one of David Shannon's most famous books that is read in many elementary classrooms. In 1999, this book won the Caldecott medal, which is awarded to the "most distinguished American picture book" every year. Shannon originally wrote and illustrated this book when he was only 5 years old. When his mom found it in his childhood things, she sent it to him and he decided to rewrite and reillustrate it. This book is all about Shannon's own childhood, when he was constantly being told by his mom, "No, David!" for being overly rambunctious. This book is humorous and teaches the wonderful lesson that no matter what David does, his mom still loves him.

This book is great to read to K-2 students because it can illustrate to them that you as a teacher will always love this no matter what. If I were to read this book aloud to my class, I would follow it up by discussing classroom and school rules with students in a fun and engaging way. For example, the rules could be written next to a drawing of David, or a chart could be made about what makes a good student. The following website gives some great ideas that could be incorporated following a read aloud of this wonderful book.

Book Trailer: A Bad Case of Stripes

A Bad Case of Stripes

This David Shannon classic, written in 1998, is a perfect read aloud to use when teaching kids not to worry about what others think of them. I would use this book on the first day of school, during a bullying unit, or even to promote classroom climate. In this book, a young girl named Camilla Cream loves lima beans, but wont eat them at school because other kids in her school don't like them. This little girl is so worried about what other people think of her that she breaks out in a bad case of stripes and the only thing that can cure her, is to eat lima beans.

The following website provides some great lesson plans to go along with this book:

David Goes to School

This sequel to "No, David!" is about all of the things David gets in trouble for in school. It also ends with the teacher showing unconditional love to David despite his behavior. It is another good book to use to get student input on the rules of the classroom. If I were to use this book in a lesson, I would combine it with "No, David," in order to give the students some more ideas about what should and shouldn't be done in school. The use of both of these books would also be great to begin an author study on David Shannon. Author studies are very important for students, especially new readers. They can help establish a reading community, build reading and critical thinking skills and are great exposure to different reading styles. David Shannon is a great author to choose for an author study in grades K-2 and there are many different resources out there to aid teachers who may want to do a study on him. One of my personal favorites are the author study resources on the blog "sharing kindergarten."
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Duck on a Bike

The humorous tale "Duck on a Bike" was inspired by David Shannon's own daughter who made animal noises before she could talk. In this book, a Duck decides to ride a bike around the farm, and he passes many animals along the way. By the end of the book, all of the animals are riding bikes around the farm, yet no human notices. This book makes a great read aloud and is very engaging for children, especially if it is read aloud in an expressive tone of voice. It is very useful for beginning to demonstrate fluency and tone to students. Additionally, this book can be used in many interdisciplinary ways. For instance, it can be used to get children familiar with different kinds of animals and the noises they make. It can also be used to teach children about ordinal numbers. The following worksheet gives a great example of this
Duck on a Bike by David Shannon