Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Outside, Inside

Outside, Inside
by Carolyn Crimi

As a former English teacher, I love this book.  It is filled with so many literary devices that I can think of ten different uses for it in my classroom. The funny thing is, I had never heard of this book or the author until I stumbled upon it at a bookstore's going out of business sale several years ago.  The price was right, so I snatched it up hoping it would be worth the little bit I paid for it.  Thankfully, it was worth way more!  Like most good story lines, this one is simple by comparing what is happening outside and inside one very rainy day.  "Outside, black clouds sink down to the bottom of the sky.  Inside, Molly stretches and yawns in her red flannel robe. Outside, tree leaves flap in the crying wind.  Inside, Molly's slippers whisper down the hall." The story continues on comparing outside and inside until the rain ends, Molly opens up the window and lets the outside in! 

The similes and metaphors are creative and abundant in this story, which I just love, along with personification and onomatopoeia (Anyone know what this is? I'll give you a virtual high-five if you tell me!).  In the book, pancakes slip down a maple syrup mountain and thunder stomps over the hills and meadows.  Descriptive language is so much fun for the ears.  And I can just imagine drawing a Venn diagram to help with the contrast and comparison!  In addition, the illustrations depict both a cool colored "outside" to a warm and inviting "inside."  So it's visually pleasing as well!

Reading Connection:  After reading the story, stop and do an "outside, inside" activity with your kids.  Look out your windows or go take a walk.  Then sit down and list out some things about what is happening outside.  Consider the weather (hot, cold, rainy), the trees (bare, full of leaves or springtime buds), the animals, what sounds you hear (airplane overhead, wind in the trees) etc.  Then look around your own home.  What is happening inside?  Use all of your senses.  What do you see, smell, hear, taste, or feel?  Be creative!  Try to incorporate a simile or metaphor if you can! 

Right now at our house, our "outside, inside" activity might go like this:

Outside, the moon is lighting up one spot in the inky, black sky.
Inside, the house is peaceful and quiet and still.
Outside, cicadas are humming their late summer tunes
Inside, I hear the hum of the air conditioner trying to cool off the house after a hot summer day.
Outside, a large garden spider is spinning its silver web in a corner of the porch.
Inside, our cat is curled in a soft ball at the foot of my bed.

I could go on, but you get the point.  Depending on the day, time or weather, the descriptions are endless! 
What is happening outside and inside where you are right now?

PS-- I have blogged about this book before, but I can't find the post now, so I will link back once I find it.  I guess I really like this one! 

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