Our BLG reader this week Deborah brought us the informative, engaging and very funny story – Why Do I Have to Make My Bed? (Or a History of Messy Rooms) written by teacher and playwright Wade Bradford and illustrated by Johanna van der Sterre.
We were connecting with this book right from the cover. Ahh kids and messy rooms! In my house this question sometimes sounds a little different: Why do I have to make your bed? (That would be me, the Mom, asking it)
We start with a little boy asking his Mom why he has to make his bed. He lists the chores he just completed and bemoans, “So why do I have to make my bed? It’s just going to get messed up again.”
“Yes.” “That’s true!” students shouted out.
The little boy’s mother tells her son that this reminds her of a story about his grandmother when she was a little girl and asked that exact same question (but her chore list was slightly different and included putting away Hula-hoops and dusting her rock’ n’ roll records) This little girl’s mother said “That reminds me of a story about your grandfather when he was a little boy. And . . .”
Miami predicts: “Oh! I think this book is going to go on and on and on until they get to the dinosaurs!”
We move back in time – learning about different chores completed by children at different times in history (from fetching water from the pump to dusting a printing press to picking out rats hiding in the pickle barrel . . . ) We also learn funny expressions through the ages: “cantankerous as an old sea dog” “more thunderous than Thor” “ill-tempered as a caged lion” etc. Students delighted in searching for the date woven into the illustrations and noticed “It’s a boy, then a girl, then a boy. A pattern.” Everyone joined in with Deborah on the lines that repeated “That reminds me of a story about . . .” and “So why do I have to make my bed?”
Meeting the Vikings was very exciting (as were the chores! This little girl had to stoke the fire for a sword maker, dust off the sacred blowing horn, pick up broken spears and patch her father’s war wounds) “Whoa the Vikings!” “Vikings! Are you serious?”
Seeing children from the Roman times was also pretty dramatic in our room.
“That’s a billion years ago!”
“That’s Heavens time.”
And then Egyptians, cave people . . . Oh my!
Finally, we do learn why these children do have to make their beds: “Because I said so.”
At the back of the book is a section titled Chores Through the Ages which tells us about both the chores children had to do in each time period but also about children’s play. For example, in Ancient Egypt, children might build toy boats to sail along the irrigations canals. Deborah didn’t read this whole section but pointed out that students could read it independently at a later time. Plans were quickly made: “I’m totally reading that.” “Me too” “Cool”
This book was a big hit!
Our student reviewers report:
Alyson: I like when the story went on and on and on!
Josiah: I like the book because it kept repeating: Why do I have to make my bed to the year 40,000 B.C. to cave men. It was funny.
Hajhare: My favourite part was when they were in the Vikings. It was funny how the boy talked. The Egyptians were cool too. I don’t like making my bed either. I hate it!
Ricky: This was a very long book. It’s the longest BLG book read I think. I liked that it was so long. This book was just like karma.