Author Study: JAN BRETT

Literature used: The Mitten, The Hat


The Mitten

I started this author study by reading The Mitten to my class. We read it two times through on the first day. The children were fascinated by the fact that so many animals had climbed into this mitten. During the first reading some of them were able to predict which animal was coming next. I used this opportunity to ask them how they had figured it out. They told us they were looking at the little pictures on the side of the page.       (Reading the Pictures)

This prompted them to ask me to read it again immediately. I read it slower and we took the time to check out all the pictures on each page. When I came to the page when the bear is trying to climb in, we did some predictions. I asked them to think about whether or not the bear would fit. Some of them said he wouldn't fit because it would bust open. Others said there would be room for him just like all the others. After we found out what happened we checked our predictions and I told them that is what good readers do. (Making Predictions)

They thought the mouse would fit and were hysterical when he caused the mitten to bust open. They used reasoning to assume the mouse would fit simply because he is smaller than the bear. (Reasoning)

On the last page we were able to practice reading a picture once more. They told the end of the story to me by looking at the expression on Baba's face and the size difference between the two mittens.

After finishing the story I put out the cassette and puppets to go with the story. I placed them at the listening centre. The next day we listened together to the cassette and I had some children help me put the animals into the mitten in the correct order. (Sequencing) We also practiced putting the animals in order from biggest to smallest.                     (Ordering According to Size)

We made a graph of who likes mittens and who likes gloves.

I extended these activities by reading another story called, The Mitten, by Vera Trembach. We talked about the similarities and differences between the two stories and then made a Venn Diagram.

You could have the children dress up as the animals from the story and crawl under a blanket, parachute or into a sleeping bag as you read the story.


The Hat

When I introduced the second Jan Brett story and told them she was the author of The Mitten, the children were anxious to read the story. I asked them what special things we should look for in Jan Brett stories. They immediately reminded me to watch all the pictures around the pages. We predicted what would happen to the hat in this story by looking at the cover. They thought the animals would all try to fit inside to stay warm. They were pleasantly surprised to learn that the clothes are worn as hats and not everyone tries to fit into one mitten.

We made a Venn Diagram comparing the animals in the two stories.