Thursday, January 24, 2008

The Top Job

Kimmel, Elizabeth Cody. 2007. THE TOP JOB. Ill. by Robert Neubecker. New York: Dutton. ISBN 9780525477891 [Suggested Grade Levels K-3]

It’s career day and several children have told about the interesting careers that their parents have: a UFO tracker, a race car driver, a jewelry designer. The children have been captivated and have asked great questions about whether or not their parents’ careers spill over to the child: asked if Emma’s father has ever introduced her to an alien, she admits that he hasn’t, but that she has seen a meteor shower. Next a girl stands to tell about her father who changed a light bulb last weekend and she got to help. Not only do her classmates laugh, her teacher quickly tries to shift the focus to spelling. The joke is on them as the unnamed girl tells an exciting story about her adventures changing a light bulb -- at the top of the Empire State Building!

It’s an exciting story of travel, special equipment, and great heights. The girl confidently tells about all aspects of the undertaking and how she “helps.” Even as adults we are fascinated by the details. The illustrations walk us through the task and keep the specific building a surprise until the end. The colors are bold and vivid and when the light bulb is changed and working, we get a vertical spread to emphasize the height of the building.

Invite children to tell about their parents’ careers. Do any of their careers have special requirements like the girl’s in the story?

Other books about buildings:
Macaulay, David. UNBUILDING.ISBN 39529457
Mann, Elizabeth. EMPIRE STATE BULDING. ISBN 1931414068

By Cay Geisler

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