December 31, 2010

The Cheese

Title: The Cheese 
(Click this title for the link:
The Cheese)
Margie Palatini (Author)
Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher (Illustrators)

Comprehension Strategies: Inferring, Questioning, 
Prior Knowledge (Connections)
Art Modalities: Creative Movement, Music

Summary: In this hilarious riff on the favorite nursery rhyme "The Farmer in the Dell," readers will discover what really happened to that hunk of cheddar. (Summary from

Materials: The Cheese
So why does the cheese stand alone? Hi-ho the dairy-o, students will want to know before and after reading this funny version of the folk song, "The Farmer in the Dell." Before reading the book, lead children in playing a version of the singing game. To play, the children hold hands to form a group circle. One child—the farmer—stands in the center of the circle. The group moves around the farmer while singing the first verse. When the verse ends, the "farmer" closes his eyes, spins around and points to a child in the group. This child joins the farmer in the center and becomes the "wife." The singing game continues until the "wife" has chosen a "child," the "child" has chosen a "dog," the "dog" has chosen a "cat," the "cat" has chosen a "rat" and the "rat" has chosen the "cheese." At this point, all of the characters return to the circle except for the cheese, who stands alone as the group sings the final verse.

Following the game, ask children, "Why does the cheese stand alone?" Invite children to turn and talk with partners, record their responses in journals, or write their answers on self-adhesive notes to create a chart.

Read the story aloud stopping often to observe the rat's changing emotions. Invite students to copy the rat's facial expressions and body positions to help them infer the rat's thoughts and feelings throughout the story. When looking at the illustration of the "cat's evidence," you may want to remind the children that an inference is made when a person combines clues with background knowledge. How did the clues and the cat's background knowledge help her discover the rat's motives? Finally, pause after the rat is left alone with the cheese. Encourage predictions about the rat's next move. Will he eat the cheese, move the cheese, or use good manners and wait to share the cheese? Hi-ho the dairy-o, read the book so you'll know!

Hear it for yourself! Use this link to enjoy listening to the story read aloud by the author, Margie Palatini. You'll also hear some of her thoughts about the book. Audio clip of The Cheese