Since getting into graphic novels and US history, my school visit audience is usually 3rd-8th graders. I don't visit many K-2nd grade classes anymore--which I did when I was doing mostly picture books. Today was fun, though, because I got to do my old picture book presentation. The finale is a group effort where the students help me draw a monster, or, since it was St. Patrick's day, a leprechaun.
I have a marker and an oversized piece of paper on an easel. I start with the head, and take suggestions for each monster part down to the feet, and then we name him/her/it. Since these are leprechauns, they all have the classic hat and belt--and a last name starting with "Mc".
These are what three separate groups of 2nd graders came up with:
Fanae McWilliker has five arms and frogs for hands. We couldn't figure out how she eats with frog hands, or if she feeds herself by letting the frogs eat.
I've done this drawing exercise with kids for years. It's very strange to see the shifts in specific body part requests. Four years ago, there was not a SINGLE monster that didn't get a "Uni-brow". Kids were insane for the "uni-brow." More recently, it's been mustaches. Today's had a strange similarity, pointy noses and zig-zag mouths. All three groups, not knowing what the other groups had chosen, asked for those two traits. I drew them differently, so the monsters--I mean leprechauns--would be different when seen together.
Another odd similarity is animals for limbs. I was stunned at the weirdness of "chickens for arms", and then the third group asked for "frogs for hands."
I don't know what any of it means. But it's interesting.
As I'm posting these leprechauns, there are a few hundred 2nd graders who are writing stories about them for homework. The frogs for hands issue is now theirs to work out.