No study of Eric Carle would be complete without looking at his art. Throughout this author study students have replicated Carle's art to help understand his stories. Above the Mackarados invited students to color large sheets of paper and then cut the large papers into smaller pieces, much like Carle does. These smaller pieces were then sorted by color to make pictures. One of the things the children noticed was that in most of Carle's books, he has a wonderful yellow sun, so most of them included a yellow sun! They mentored themselves to this outstanding illustrator!
Other art and craft work includes large class murals, click beetles that really click (because they are attached to clothespins!) and lightening bugs that really light up (with the help of small Christmas tree lights!)
While the beginning of the Eric Carle Author Study introduced books by the author and focused on hearing the story language and learning to retell the simple sequences (such as using pictures as retelling parts of The Very Busy Spider in the mobile at left), the later part of the study builds on the retelling by emphasizing other ways of responding to the books during the Readers' Workshop. Responses include oral and written reactions to a book. For instance, they might include a child retelling the story in his own words (or by using a story map); discussing or creating artwork to show comprehension such as illustrating a favorite part of a story; drawing, talking about or writing about connections to a story; or making predictions based on illustrations or portions of the story. Some teachers will even introduce Venn diagrams and have the class talk "across" books by showing them how they can compare and contrast books by the same author. While this is not necessarily a Kindergarten standard, many students are ready for this type of comparison to help them organize their thinking.
The power of this author study is in listening to the children as they talk to their partners about their response to books. It is amazing the level of conversation you hear!