Thursday, February 28, 2013

Follow the Leader with Fluff and Billy

Read It. Move It. Share It. 
Each month I recommend a picture book for dance educator Maria Hanley to use in her creative movement classes in New York, and then we both share our experiences with the book. Our February book was Fluff and Billy by Nicola Killen. When you're done reading about the book here on my blog, stop by Maria's Movers to see what kind of movement it can inspire!

When my girls were younger, they really liked to play follow the leader, and I sometimes used this to my advantage. At bedtime, I could usually get them to go upstairs for bed if I did some super silly moves going up our staircase and asked them to follow along.

Fluff and Billy, published a few months ago by Sterling Children's Books, is a book about friendship and overcoming disagreements. But what made me think it would be a great book for creative movement classes is that the text and illustrations also inspire a good game of follow the leader!

"I'm climbing up!" said Fluff.
"I'm climbing up!" said Billy. 

"I'm sliding down!" said Fluff. 
"I'm sliding down!" said Billy.

Fluff''s a little bigger than Billy, and he's the one who seems to be the leader. When he climbs and slides, Bill follows along. When he screams, swims, splashes, runs, and jumps, Billy follows along again. But, when Fluff decides to roll a snowball, Billy doesn't quite follow along. Billy decides to throw the snowball at Fluff, and it hits Fluff hard enough to knock him down.

Just like when young friends or siblings play together a lot of the time and then have a fight, Fluff and Billy don't talk to each other for a while -- or at least for a few spreads of the book! Eventually, though, they make up and the book ends on a happy note.

The illustrations of Fluff and Billy are darling, and I love the simplicity of the color palette that was used to create them -- shades of black and gray for their bodies and orangish red for their beaks and feet. The backgrounds on every page of the book are a mix of white, blue, and yellow. I love books that use unique fonts, and this book does that, too.

If you want to see a few of the spreads from the book, you can see them here on Nicola Killen's website. And if you're curious to see whether Maria played a game of follow the leader with her young students this month, I hope you'll check out her post here.

My girls are six and eight now, and I haven't tried follow the leader with them in a while. They are actually getting pretty good at going upstairs on their own and at least getting the bedtime process started. It might be fun to surprise them with another game of follow the leader up the staircase one of these days, though. And I might even have to follow it up with a reading of this delightful book!

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