Teaching Process Skills with Children’s Literature: Lunch

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Have you been looking for a book about sensory descriptors that will actively engage students?  Author and illustrator, Denise Fleming, meets this need  with her book Lunch.

Denise Fleming's Lunch is a clever story that teaches about the senses through a mouse's journey to eat lunch.  Using bright, bold illustrations, originally created in handmade paper, the pages of Lunch easily catch the eye of the reader.  Fleming plays off the mischievous nature of a hungry mouse who escapes the hole in the wall to fulfill his hunger.  The mouse begins using his nose to "sniff, sniff" around the table.  As the story progresses, the mouse encounters new fruits and vegetables to nibble.   Fleming plans the placement of the text in order to gain anticipation from the reader.  She begins "he ate a crisp white€”" and continues on the next page, "turnip."  Along with each short description, she includes half of an illustration of the food.  Using this technique, the reader is encouraged to guess what snack the mouse will eat next.  The reader can use the sensory descriptions of colors, texture, and taste to predict the upcoming fruit or vegetable.  As the mouse nibbles from one food to the next, he covers himself with particles of what he eats.  The story ends when the mouse finishes his lunch, covered with yellow corn on his nose, green peas on his tail, and purple grapes on his toes.  Fleming writes, "Then, he took a nap until€¦dinnertime!"  Similar to the first page, the last page shows the mouse coming out of his hole in the wall, sniffing for foods for dinner!

Curriculum Connections
Not only entertaining in its illustrations, the adventure in Lunch is equally useful as a concept book.  This book is great for students learning how to describe objects using their visual, tactile, tasting skills.   Fleming uses phrases such as "tender green€”peas," "tart blue€”berries," and "shiny red€”apples" in the text; using these adjectives, a child can learn how to describe using touch, taste, and sight.

This book perfectly correlates with instructing students in process skills and scientific investigation.  Specifically students in Kindergarten and first grade will benefit from Lunch.  Lessons using this book can emphasize sensory descriptors such as sweet, sour, hard, soft, bright, dull, and colors.  Students can also use their observation skills to predict the mouse's next snack in the story.  In Virginia, this book works nicely with the K.2b SOL and the 1.1f SOL.

Additional Resources

  • Lesson Exchange offers daily activities for a week using Denise Fleming's book Lunch.  The site offers tips and techniques on how to read the story to children, including how to encourage students to interact with the book.  Another activity uses color words from the story, urging students to use their visual senses to describe the foods in the story.
  • Props for Lunch Play.  This resource lists materials and directions on how to create props when reading or acting out Fleming's Lunch.  Access to the book is necessary to complete the props.
  • Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills website provides a unique lesson plan useful in teaching process skills and differentiating between living and nonliving organisms.  This activity asks students to characterize and sort the fruits and vegetables in Lunch in terms of size, shape, color, and weight.

Book: Lunch
Author and Illustrator: Denise Fleming
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Publication Date: March 15, 1998
Pages: 32
Grades: K-1
ISBN: 0805056963