Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

Wild Child

Plourde, Lynn (Author)
Couch, Greg (Illustrator)
Simon & Schuster 2003. 32 pages
First published: 1999
ISBN: 9780689863493 (paperback)
Original language: English
Book type: Picture Book

Text Elements:

character, figurative language, recurring patterns, setting

Reading Range

 
Cycle
Elementary
Secondary
 
1
2
3
1
2
ELA
K
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL Intensive & Enriched
5
6
1
2
3
4
5

Description:

Lavish vocabulary and illustrations reflect the abundance of a fall harvest, as Mother Earth puts her wild child to bed. Readers of all ages will recognize the child’s delay tactics: wanting a song, then a snack, pyjamas and a kiss before settling to sleep.

This poem begs to be read aloud, with exuberant wordplay that takes readers from the golden days of early fall (“Crinkle, crackle, leaves snapple”) to the first icy breath of winter (“A whooshy, whirlishy, windswept snuggle”).

Illustrations use translucent layers of colour to create soft-textured scenes that seem to glow. They depict the wild child as a kind of forest sprite, with twigs in her hair and leaves for a tunic. Mother Earth is both character and landscape: forming the rocks that define a waterfall, offering an expansive skirt as grounds for a picnic, and embracing the child in her white, windy arms for a goodnight kiss. In the end, colours turn cool as the child finally sleeps. Mother’s curves are covered in snow and another child wakes: “Can’t sleep,” Winter said.

Both visual and aural feast, this book may be fruitfully enjoyed as bedtime reading and for language arts study alike.

  •  

    Read the “Note from the Artist” that describes how he uses layers of colour to create a particular feeling. Browse the illustrations. What do you think the artist’s “mood I’m looking for” is throughout the story? Reflect on this question before and after reading.

  •  Compare the bedtime routines of the Wild Child with your bedtime routines.
  •  In a small group, practise reading one of the sections aloud. Use appropriate expression and intonation.
  •  Use words from the story to write a poem about fall.
  •  Brainstorm words you know about fall. Discuss how they can be sorted.
  •  

    Go for a picture walk and discuss the art, setting and characters.

  •  

    After the poem is read aloud, discuss the structure (Mother Earth singing a lullaby of fall to her child) and vocabulary (onomatopoeias, rhyming words and sentences).

  •  

    Use this poem as a mentor text to write about Winter Child going to bed or Spring Child waking up.

  • Environmental Awareness and Consumer Rights and Responsibilities
  • Health and Well-Being
  • Visual Arts