What’s Your Favorite Animal?

whatsyourfavoriteanimalChildren’s author/illustrator Eric Carle asked 14 friends that question and the result is the delightful book, What’s Your Favorite Animal?

In the book, 14 children’s authors present their favorite animals, with (of course) accompanying illustrations. The book is a treasure of creativity. Think of all the ways it could be used.

  • Examine all the different styles and materials used. Help students (even young ones) see there is no one right way to draw an animal. Draw some animals!
  • Learn about the illustrators. The book includes pictures and a bit of information, but there’s lots more to learn. How did they get started as artists? What other books have they illustrated? Do some other illustrators, like Carle, also write books? How many of them have websites?
  • Learn about the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Art, which profits from this book.
  • leopardillustrationExpand on the book to tell stories about the characters there. What did that cat do next? Where is the leopard going? And what does that “Amazonian Neotropical Lower River Tink-Tink” look like?
  • Have older students analyze the choices made in each illustration and how they affect the mood and tone of the animals. How do the materials matter? The colors? Style? Consider the types of story for which each would be appropriate. Think about the types of illustrations that would best suit something they’ve written.
  • What would happen if you asked artists in your area to create a representation of their favorite animals? It could become an exercise in letter writing, an exploration of the local arts community, and an extension of the book. Perhaps you could sell your collection for a local children’s charity.
  • Ask students to imagine what Eric Carle might ask his friends to do for their next book. Favorite food? Sport? Piece of furniture? Create the first page.

I’m sure you can think of more options. We’d love to hear about them.

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