I can just imagine how I'd set it all up beforehand: a stack of two-foot-long branches; an assortment of large stones; a selection of discarded grown-ups shoes; a box of conch shells; and a few smaller-size worn-out tires.
There is nothing better than finding a book that feeds the imagination of a child. Back in my preschool director days, when kids walked away from circletime thinking and talking and imagining and acting upon what they'd just gotten from a book I'd read to them, that's when I was in heaven.
And so I can just imagine being back there, organizing the aforementioned materials, so that after I read aloud PRUDENCE WANTS A PET, the children are provided their own opportunities to adopt a pretend pet like Prudence does in the story.
What is its name? Is it a boy or a girl? How old is it? Does it have brothers or sisters? What is its favorite food? Where does it sleep? Does it like bath time? What adventure are you going to have with it? I would have the teachers taking dictation as each child has a chance to imagine and verbalize a story about his or her pretend pet.
The story of Prudence and her series of pretend pets begins when her requests for a pet are denied:
"'No, says Dad, 'pets cost too much to keep.” “No," says Mom, "pets make noise."
And so, "Prudence gets a pet. It is a branch. Its name is Branch. Prudence drags it to school. She drags it home again."
Unfortunately Branch trips Dad, and so begins Prudence's hilarious trials and tribulations involving an assortment of pretend pets (I love the shoe pet named Formal Footwear and the tire pet named Mr. Round.) until -- finally -- her parents relent and there is a wonderful, tears-of-joy, surprise-of-a-happy-ending.
I also love Prudence's expressiveness, and how the trim size of the book lends itself so well to having the parents -- the authority figures – only visible from the shoulders down.
Now let me tell you about my pet...