The Book - Simon's Hook; A Story About Teases and Put-downs by Karen Gedig Burnett
This book is fabulous! As the subtitle suggests, it teaches children constructive methods of dealing with those who tease and insult. The lesson focuses on the metaphor of not biting the hook. Instead, you should be a "free fish". How do you keep from biting? The book covers five ways, including swimming in another part of the sea, distracting others from the bait, and agreeing with the bait. It gives examples of each in a fun, fishy-themed way at a level children can understand.
Amazon lists this book as for children grades 1-4, and I have to agree. 3 and 4 year olds rarely insult each other. They prefer to throw things, hit, or refuse to share. And a 4 year old isn't going to be savvy enough to take an insult and turn it into a joke. Still, I love the idea of preemptively arming Little Page with the tools she'll need to respond to put-downs in a constructive way.
The Craft/Activity - Go Fish!
Practice the methods you learned with a simple role play. First you'll need a fishing pole. I took a dowel (Walmart had a package of 10 for just over a dollar) and cut a notch at one end. Using embroidery thread for the fishing line, I tied it around the dowel at the notch. Then I tied the other end of the thread around a large paper clip. Referring to the book for ideas, I wrote little put-downs and teases on strips of paper. Then it was time to play!
We used our puppet stage and two fish puppets (gotta love hand-me-downs!), but you could simply use a sock for a puppet. I had Little Page go fish with a put-down while I played the role of the fish. First, I showed how the fish would "bite" the hook. He screamed and cried and denied and then chomped onto that paper as hard as his little stuffed mouth would let him. Little Page burst into fits of giggles everytime I did this. Then we reviewed one of the methods and the fish acted it out, eventually swimming away from the hook as a free fish!
Thank you to my sister for this week's wonderful book selections! Come back on Monday to find out who won the giveaway, and to start a new themed week... books for the common cold!