Sunday, November 25, 2007

The Mixed Up Chameleon

Mixed Up Chameleon by Eric Carle
Suggested read alone ages 4-7
Suggested read together ages 0-4
I get excited every time I pick up a book by Eric Carle. The reason being, there is always a message, not just for the kids but for the adult as well.
This book is about a chameleon that goes to the zoo. He looks at the animals around him and wants to be like the other animals. When he looks at a giraffe he is awed by the graceful, long neck. Does he stop with that? No, he pines for a long, sleek neck like the giraffe has and his wish comes true! At the end the chameleon acquires not only a long giraffe-like neck but a huge white body like the polar bear, a pair wings and long feet like the flamingo, fins and gills like the fish, shell like a turtle, antlers like the deer, huge trunk like the elephant, the wit of a fox and flippers like the seal. At the end of all these transformations the chameleon realizes that he is the happiest being just himself. The sad mixed up chameleon wishes to be his normal self and lucky for him, his wish comes true!

What excites my three year old is the simple, bright colors in the book. Also she now knows that a chameleon eats insects and changes color to blend with the background. When I ask her, ‘If the chameleon sits on a leaf what color will he be?’ ‘Green’ she pipes enthusiastically.

The message for older kids and adults is ‘Be yourself and be happy with it.’ I am trying to introduce this message for my three year old in a simple form. Every time the chameleon undergoes a transformation, I ask her to point out what is different with the chameleon. When she does, I ask her, ‘Is the chameleon happy now?’. For this she replies ‘Noooo.’ At the end of the book, I always point out to smiling, back to its original self chameleon and ask her, ‘Is the chameleon happy now?’ and she answers ‘Yyyeeess.’ Then we both chorus, ‘You get what you get and be happy with what you get.’


Praba Ram said...

Oh, UTBT - thanks for the double treat - back-to-back reviews!

Loved reading them - particularly the Qs & As with your little one were so adorable, and a great pointer on how important it is to read to your child interactively, and not just passive reading(which of course, is something I need to work on too - sometimes our story time gets pushed to end of the day bedtime reading, and becomes a passive reading session! ;-))

I have SUCH fond memories of reading this book and other EC books to my 5 yr old when she was close to 3. The grouchy ladybug, A house for Hermit Crab,
Pancakes, Pancakes and Rooster's Off to see the world are some of our all time favorites! I can't wait to read them all to my younger one!

thank you and look forward to lot more of your reviews on interactive sessions with your little ones!

ranjani.sathish said...

Hi utbt
Enjoyed the review and a lovely pick too ! It is a coincidence that only today I searched the attic and brought down the books which we had got for Sooraj when he was around 1.5 years old.

I was happy to see EC's "The very hungry caterpillar" and have placed it on my desk to start reading to the younger one !

Sooraj was even more delighted when he came from school and saw this book again :-)

Tara said...

That's such a cute review UTBT. I remember we talked about this book and I am happy to see it in print here. Great work! I loved the visualisation of mother and daughter chorussing the bottom line at the end of the reading session. And yes, as Praba mentioned, it motivates me to have a funner time reading with Akhil.

Mama - Mia said...

a super delayed comment, but then i was just so amused how my 3yo Cub pretty much reacts the same way to this book.

he absolutely LOVES it and has been read a million times already! :)



utbtkids said...

@Mama Mia: It is always great to hear about old favs. Your comment took me down memory lane.

@Praba, Tharini, Ranjani: Thanks guys.

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