Farm Flu

By Teresa Bateman

This book, published in 2001, is a wonderful jumping off place for class or student books. One way to help our students learn a variety of authoring techniques is to encourage their imitation of favorite books. I guarantee that Farm Flu will become a favorite!

Farm Flu is written in an variety of rhyme patterns. The story relates what happens when a young boyís mom goes out of town and he is left to take care of the farm animals, all of whom mysteriously come down with the flu! The boy knows just what to do, however, as each group of animals becomes ill. He does exactly what his mom would do if he had the flu!

What follows is a hilarious story, with wonderful pictures of a cow in bed, blowing itís nose; a group of chickens, wrapped cozily and eating barley soup; bunches of piglets getting their bellies scrubbed in the tub; and a bed full of sheep.

Probably my own favorite picture is the one which shows all the animals in the living room, watching TV, arguing, playing games, and munching. Now the boy knows just what to do, too! He tells them all, "Too sick to be outside, I see. Then youíre too sick to watch TV! No toys, no games, just stay in bedÖ."

You can imagine what the animals do! But can you guess what happens next? A great surprise ending!

Read this book before a field trip to a dairy, farm, the zoo, the petting zoo, the county or state fair, or the circus. All kinds of flu can become contagious! Donít you love the sound of Zoo Flu? I do! Brainstorm some animals from each place who would need care. Or brainstorm other things that could be catching. What if all the animals in the circus came down with the chicken pox?

Donít take field trips? Donít have any of the above places to go nearby? What about a virtual tour on the internet? What about a video of one of the places? Iíll bet you can think of lots of other ways to use Farm Flu to spark writing in your classroom.

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