________________ CM . . . . Volume XIX Number 16. . . .December 21, 2012

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Grateful Jake.

Emily Madill. Illustrated by Izabela Bzymek.
Nanaimo, BC: Em & Joe Books (www.emilymadill.com)
(Distributed by Red Tuque Books, 2012. 24 pp., pbk., hc., iPad ed., $11.95 (pbk.), $18.95 (hc.). ISBN 978-0-9812579-6-9 (pbk.), ISBN 978-0-9812579-7-6 (hc.).

Subject Heading:
Gratitude-Fiction.

Preschool-grade 2 / Ages 4-7.

Review by Suzanne Pierson.

*** /4

   
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Grateful Jake Resource Guide.

Emily Madill. Illustrated by Izabela Bzymek.
Em & Joe Books (www.emilymadill.com)
(Distributed by Red Tuque Books, 2012.
71 pp., pbk., $14.95.
ISBN 978-0-9812579-9-0.

Subject Headings:
Gratitude-Study and teaching (Elementary)-Activity programs.

Preschool-grade 2 / Ages 4-7.

Review by Suzanne Pierson.

*** /4

   

excerpt:

When it was time for bed, Jake's dad came in to read a story and say goodnight. He said he couldn't understand how any boy could sleep in a room with so much MESS.

Jake replied, "It's okay Dad, I know where everything is".

Tomorrow will be a big day, thought Jake. Then he drifted off into a deep sleep.

 

The author and illustrator of Grateful Jake have combined to create a resource that some teachers, parents, and caregivers may find useful. The storyline is simple Jake has an epiphany regarding how much he has to be grateful for after a fun-filled weekend with his family. The colourful and lively illustrations raise the simple homily to a resource worthy of considering for purchase. It is apparent that illustrator Izabela Bzymek has based her illustrations on the Madill family. In her acknowledgments, author Emily Madill thanks Bzymek "for injecting an element of fun into the story and bringing the Grateful Jake characters to life in such a creative and extraordinary way." I couldn't agree more.

internal art      Madill has written a 70 page resource guide to accompany Grateful Jake which includes 12 activities, worksheets, assessment rubrics and some colouring pages. Not every activity will appeal to everyone, but it is likely that most adults will find at least something useful, especially if they are looking for an opportunity to introduce the topic of gratitude, self-confidence, and empathy.

      Each activity includes a section for "In the Classroom" and a section for "From Home". Madill explains in her introduction that "rubrics have been created for some of the lessons as an assessment tool. If using the activities at home, you can omit the assessment section."

      A variety of teaching techniques, such as visualization, narrative pantomime, and brainstorming, is included in the 12 activities. Different activities focus on different aspects of the curriculum and of student development, such as "Performing Arts", "Language Arts" and "Confidence Booster".

      Madill suggests that the visualization activity be used first to "help set the foundation for the next activities and help learners start thinking about what they are grateful for in their own lives."

      Although the activities are not sequential and any of them can be used in isolation or in any order, any adult attempting to develop "an attitude of gratitude" will need to be aware of the potential for unintended harm in some of the group sharing activities. "Activity #9, Gifts of Confidence", for example, is designed for "children to practice sharing their appreciation and gratitude for other people in their lives and for "children to also practice receiving appreciation and compliments from other people."

      In the classroom portion of this activity, "the teacher will pair students so each student fills out a gift of confidence for their partner and each student receives a gift of confidence from their partner." In a classroom with a culture of support and respect, this could work very well. In other classrooms, this activity could result in some hurt feelings or worse. This is definitely not an activity to leave for a supply teacher.

      Madill suggests that the visualization activity be used first to "help set the foundation for the next activities and help learners start thinking about what they are grateful for in their own lives."

Recommended with reservations.

Suzanne Pierson, a retired teacher-librarian, is currently instructing Librarianship courses at Queen's University in Kingston, ON.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.
 

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