Daily Archives: May 9, 2009

Revisiting: The Secret Knowledge of Grown-Ups

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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.

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