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Practically Paradise
Inside Practically Paradise

Green by Laura Vaccaro Seeger

I am LOVING the book Green by Laura Vaccaro Seeger. I have tried it out with students in PreK, K, and 1st grade classes this week. I’ve tried it with a variety of other titles to expand our thinking and comparison skills. No matter what I do, students who are calm at the beginning of our reading, are practically jumping up and down by the end. It seems I’m losing total control of my storytime-ish class just by putting this creative and artistically beautiful title in front of their eyes. They love it.

Storytime starts so sweetly when I show them the cover and have them guess the title. I cannot help the fact that the beautiful splash strokes of green paint invite my touch and that the word green is raised above the page. I cannot help myself stroking this book lovingly as I open to share it.

There are so many different types of greens and Laura Vaccaro Seeger enables the reader to interact and appreciate each one.  Students are relaxed as I show them the first green – forest green. Then when I turn the page and display sea green, they sit up on their heels and lean forward in wonder. Since some of the students have noticed there are cut-outs in the pages, I flip back and acknowledge that they must be looking at the entire picture, and the cutouts, and be predicting what those cutouts will become as we turn each page. Immediately they start to chat about this and call out suggestions as we turn further.

When we reach khakhi green and find a chameleon hidden in the page, I begin to lose control of the crowd. These students have never heard of an animal that changes its colors to blend and we have to spend some time with how wonderful this world is.

I start to believe I’m going to recover the class when I turn to faded green and they tip their heads to think about how colors fade. But then I swiftly lose all control again when we come to the pages of never green and no green. Their interest burns back to feverishly high levels and by the time I hit the last page with CIP data, they cannot control their bursting into applause.

There aren’t many words to this title, but visually this book speaks to my students. Green sparks their minds to consider colors in new ways. All colors. After reading, I ask if we should contact the author and ask her to please make more books celebrating colors. Of course the answer is a shouted,  “YES!” When I ask what color, I am very careful to practice what I preach (in the blog on the Little Black Book) and I embrace all answers. Laura, I hope you don’t mind, but my students are demanding you get right back to the paints and start making more books.

When I commented on how long it takes to make books, one of the first grade classes said, “We could help paint colors, too.” Yes, my darling students, you can paint and play with colors. You can seek new combinations. You can try cutting out shapes and sections and planning the design of your art to interrelate. And thanks to the joyous celebration of all types of green in this title, you can embrace different shades that all are “green.”

Laura, we love this book. I asked my students for comments to send you. Here are some of their words:

  • I love it. Tell her it’s a really good book.
  • Tell her I like green too and maybe now other people will like green and even eat their peas.
  • It’s so pretty and I just want to touch it.
  • Tell her to make some more for me like orange. (Should I mention the University of Tennessee’s colors are orange?)
  • Tell her I want to know how she made the cover cause it looks like its wet and I was afraid to touch it. But  I love it and maybe she could come by our class on Wednesdays and show us how to make it, too.

While I hold my breath for Laura’s call to say, “Sure, I’ll pop in and love on the colors with you,” I’ll have to find other ways to extend our learning. Perhaps we’ll visit the publishers’ page and show the book trailer.

The only problem I see now is how my assistant is going to pry Green out of my fingers so I can donate it to the library collection. I am like everyone who touches this book. I want to scurry in to the corner, happily turn each page and trace each brushstroke, and never set it down. I have had to rescue this title as would-be shoplifters try to sneak it out even when they KNOW I’m sharing it with another class. I wonder how many copies I will need or if my teachers will share this with each other. I’ll let you know how it turns out. Have you seen Green yet?