Thursday, October 20, 2011

Spot the Plot! A Riddle Book of Book Riddles

                              Reader's Guide by Patrick L. Yercich

Bibliography: Lewis, J. Patrick. 2009. Spot the Plot! A Riddle Book of Book Riddles. Ill. by Lynn Munsinger. San Francisco, CA: Chronicle

Recommended for ages 4-8.

Award-winning author J. Patrick Lewis’ Spot the Plot! A Riddle Book of Book Riddles presents an engaging and charismatic collection of thirteen poetic riddles, but with a twist—each riddle is about a classic children’s book, and it’s up to the reader to solve them. From all-time classics such as Peter Rabbit to recent staples like the Madeline series, Lewis puts his considerable poetic skills to work in crafting clever, creative riddles that will appeal not simply to elementary school children, but to any adult who still has fond memories of the land of Oz, messages in spider webs, and searching for hours to find a certain bespectacled man in a red and white-striped hat. Each riddle is told in a different style of poetry and given a loving homage of illustrator Lynn Munsinger’s colorful, hand-drawn artwork, which will thrill younger readers and nostalgic parents/teachers alike. Lewis’ Spot the Plot entertains and delights, providing an eclectic collection of brain-teasing riddles for children ages 4-8.

Review excerpts, awards, and honors:
 “This book is perfect for an interactive read-aloud, especially if the illustrations are held back until after the text has been read.”
-School Library Journal

“This book provides an excellent opportunity to introduce today’s children to these delightful works.”
-Library Media Connection

“Lots of fun as a story hour entrée, and kids might enjoy making up some more of their own.”
-Horn Book Review

*Beehive Book Awards nominee (poetry) 2011-2012
*Buckaroo Book Awards nominee 2010-2011
*Golden Sower Awards nominee 2011-2012
*Red Dot Book Awards nominee 2011-2012
*Young Hoosier Book Awards nominee 2011-2012

Questions to ask before reading
Invite the children to discuss the following questions prior to reading Spot the Plot.
*Today, we are going to be solving riddles. Does everyone know what a riddle is? Why is a riddle different from a poem? How do you solve a riddle?
*Spot the Plot! is all about famous books. What are some of your favorite books? What is it that you like about those books?
*The characters on the cover are dressed like detectives. What does a detective do? What does being a detective have to do with solving riddles?
*Using clues is one of the most important parts to solving a riddle. What is a clue? Can you spot anything that might be a clue on the cover of Spot the Plot ?

Suggestions for reading poems aloud

*“The Story of Ferdinand”—invite three volunteers to read the riddle out loud, dividing it by section. Invite a fourth volunteer to be an actor, playing the role of Ferdinand the bull. Basic costuming can be used if available. Allow the group some time to plan together, then present the piece as a narrative pantomime.
*”Pinocchio” – invite between three and twelve volunteers to read the poem together. Divide the poem between them in one-word sections. Allow them time to practice the poem until the one-word sections become continuous.
*“Rapunzel”—just for fun, invite one volunteer to read this four-word poem. Encourage them to read it loudly. 
*”Click, Clack, Moo: Cows that Type”— invite the whole group or class to read the riddle aloud, alternating lines. If there are not enough lines for each child to have their own, they may be split or double cast. When the group gets to the final line (“The Cattle”) they should all speak it in unison.
Follow up activities (writing, art, science, etc.)
Clues play an important role in Spot the Plot. Invite the children to write a list of five clues about their own favorite books. This can be completed alone or in small groups. Afterwards, see if the group can deduce the titles of these mystery books using only the five clues provided.

Have the children develop these lists of clues into full-fledged riddles. If the group possesses sufficient poetic ability, these may be adapted into poetic riddles such as those found in the book. Once the riddles have been completed, read them aloud for the group. 

Illustrations play an important part in Spot the Plot, supplying both story and clues. Using the riddles that the group has put together, invite the children to draw, paint, or otherwise create corresponding pictures like those found in the book. Teach them how to use visual clues to convey hints about the answer. 

Munsinger’s illustrations tell stories all their own; among these, the entire story of the detectives found on the cover. Invite the children to work alone or in groups on pictures that tell a story without words. See if the rest of the class can correctly interpret these stories.

*Poem writing

J. Patrick Lewis is known for his quick rhymes and variety of styles, making this book a perfect companion for introductory poetry lessons and lessons dealing with rhyme scheme. Analyze the rhyme schemes found in Lewis’ riddles with the children. Teach the children how to write a simple four-line poem using an ABCB rhyme scheme.

Invite the children to write poems based on their favorite books using the rhyme scheme above, or any other poetic form the group happens to know. These poems do not have to be riddles, but certainly can be. Experiment with writing poems as a class, and share them at the end of the lesson. 

*Theatre arts
Many of the poetic riddles in Spot the Plot can be performed in a variety of theatrical styles. Form small groups of readers and actors. Assign each group a riddle, and allow them time to create a short scene based on that riddle. The scene may use the riddle directly, or as inspiration for improvised dialogue. At the end of the day, perform these short scenes for the group. Props and costumes may be used if available.  

Related web sites/blogs
*J. Patrick Lewis’  official website
[Features  a list of Lewis’ works, some bonus riddles, how you can set up an author visit, and more.]

*Lynn Munsinger’s  publisher’s website
[Features a list of Munsinger’s works, author updates, and a biography section.]

*Teaching Poetry with Riddles
[Features helpful ideas for teaching poetry through riddles, plus a directory of poetry/riddle resources.]

Related books
*Other collections of poetic riddles by J. Patrick Lewis
Lewis, J. Patrick. 2007. Scien-trickery: Riddles in Science. Ill. By Frank Remkiewicz. United Kingdom: Sandpiper Books.
Lewis, J. Patrick. 2002. Arithme-tickle: An Even Number of Odd Riddle-Rhymes. Ill. by Frank Remkiewicz. Boston: Harcourt.
Lewis, J. Patrick. 1998. Riddle-lightful: Oodles of Little Riddle Poems. Ill. by Debby Tilley. New York: Knopf Books 

*Other collections of poetic riddles by various authors:
Dotlich, R. 2001. When Riddles Come Rumbling: Poems to Ponder. Ill. By Karen Dugan. Honesdale, PA: Boyds Mills
Morrison, Lillian. 2006. Guess Again!: Riddle Poems. Ill. By Christy Hale. Atlanta: August House.
Spires, E. 1999. Riddle Road: Puzzles in Poems and Pictures. Ill. By Erik Blegvad. La Jolla, CA: Simon & Schuster.

*Nonfiction books pertaining to and for using poetry and riddles in the classroom:

Chmielewski, G. 2008. Classroom Zone: Jokes, Riddles, Tongue Twisters, and “Daffynitions.” Ill. By Jim Kaputo. Chicago: Norwood House Press.
Scarzi, E.. 2011. World’s Greatest Riddles and Brain Teasers! CreateSpace.
Lewis, Patrick J. Countdown to Summer: A Poem for Every Day of the School Year. Ill. By Ethan Long. Lebanon, IN: Hachette Book Group

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