That is Not a Good Idea! Actually, I think it is a very good idea – the book that is – and my early elementary students couldn’t agree more. Mo Willems’ story had them all laughing from the first page when the fox and goose made bug-eyed eye contact.
The fox’s facial expression left no doubt he was enamored with the goose, though his intent toward her was questionable. After showing a group of kindergarten students the illustration on the first page, I asked them what the fox might be thinking. Emanuel thought he was in love and wanted to marry the goose. Brenden said, “ He’s thinking, ‘I want to eat her!’” Later in the story, when the fox invited the goose into his kitchen, Liam blurted, “He’s going to cook her up!”
Throughout the story, adorable little goslings kept popping in, chirping, “That is not a good idea!” The warnings grew as the story progressed and went from one little egg-shaped gosling to six shouting “That is REALLY, REALLY, REALLY, REALLY NOT a good idea!” Whenever I turned a page to the warning, my students read the words along with me with great enthusiasm.
The kids loved this book and they especially loved the goslings. Every time they appeared on a page, all the students started chattering at once, pointing to the details – bow tie, glasses, facial expressions, flurry of wings. They were so charmed by the illustrations they wanted to make some of their own. Take a look at the work of these budding artists.
We had a sprinkling of rain the day after I read the book and one of my speech students broke into a run as he neared my room (and broke a school rule in the process.) He slipped on the metal ramp and rushed into my room rubbing his elbow. As he came in he said, “That was REALLY, REALLY, REALLY not a good idea!” He was right. And I think I’m right when I say it was REALLY, REALLY, REALLY a good idea to introduce Mo Wilems’ latest book to my students.