Daily Archives: May 9, 2009

Revisiting: The Secret Knowledge of Grown-Ups


The other day, looking for a relatively short read for my fourth graders, I went to my secret read-aloud stash and rediscovered David Wisniewski‘s The Secret Knowledge of Grown-Ups.  Clutching it to my chest to keep the cover hidden, I sat down in my reading chair and asked the children to draw near.  I was, I informed them, being a traitor to my species — that of grown-ups.  I was going to do something that I might later rue, I told them.  And once I had their attention I carefully showed them the book cover and read it to them. Then, with great caution, I read the introduction in which Wisniewski describes how he became a secret agent (double agent, really, as he was doing something against our grown-up species after all!), scouting out these rules, usually in difficult disguises and with many a near escape.

Do I need to tell you I had every child in the palm of my hand by then?

Looking about shiftly, I then quietly read the first few pages — the truth about Grown-Up Rule #31: “Eat your vegetables.”  My students today (meat-eaters or not) adored the truth behind this rule (which you can sample yourself here). David Wisniewski, (who sadly died a few years ago) was the Caldecott winner for Golem and had a unique and witty style that never gets old.  There are two more books of Grown-Up Rules, but it is this first one that is the most successful in my opinion.

Years ago, when I first read this book aloud I would make a big deal of locking it up when done. The kids loved the game, begged me for it, sometimes rattled the locked closet door in a vain attempt to get the book; they loved everything about it. This year’s kids do too.  So here’s another that deserves to be revisited (or visited for the first time) by snarky adults and inquisitive kids.



Filed under Reading Aloud, Undefined