“Today we have no plans” by Jane Godwin (2012) incorporates large detailed images and a selection of language features that together create a story that is engaging and fun. This is the essence of children’s literature.
This story is written in first person through the eyes of a child, unfolding a week in the life of a busy family. This book has two distinct parts, with the first focusing on a hectic week and the second narrating a very different end to the week.
The first part of the story is made up of short powerful sentences using deliberate word choice and verbs to set the tone, drawing the reader into the hectic life of a family (Hill, 2006). Sentences like “Where’s my shoes? Who’s got my brush? I left it here last night” and “I packed my lunch, my homework book ‘Mum, you need to sign it look!’”(Godwin, 2012) leaves you feeling rushed and frantic.
The second part is a contrasting Sunday. By using longer sentences the author is forcing you to slow down. The first page of this section has only two words on it “But then…” (Godwin, 2012) which leaves you predicting, with the title of the book foremost in your mind. The deliberate choice of words ‘slow’, don’t rush’ and ‘might’ (Godwin, 2012) makes you instantly feel calm and relaxed.
Rhyme is a prominent and enriching language feature. The use of rhyme in this story, like poetry, uses simple words to unleash thoughts, feelings and meaning and is best read aloud to bring out the acoustic function. (Winch, Johnston, March, Ljungdahl & Holliday, 2010). “I’m always tired on Thursday night. I close my book, turn out my light” (Godwin, 2012) is something everyone can relate to after a very busy day. “The lesson’s over, time has gone. Our clothes are hard to get back on” (Godwin, 2012) is exactly how you feel after a dip in a pool. The use of rhyme in this story encourages children to make predictions, helps to build vocabulary, phonics awareness and most importantly, makes the book enjoyable. (Winch, Johnston, March, Ljungdahl & Holliday, 2010).
The imagery in “Today we have no plans” directly relates to the story, complimenting the written words. This along with the descriptive language: “We eat our breakfast in a rush” (Godwin, 2012) and “Or run around the park” (Godwin, 2012) helps the reader to visualize the setting and adds meaning, enhancing the quality of understanding allowing you to relate and become a part of the story (Hill, 2006).
The different language features: word choice, verbs, tone, sentence structures, rhyme and imagery all enhance this book making it a pleasure to read and listen to. “Today we have no plans” (Godwin, 2012) is definitely a book most could relate to and I would highly recommend reading this book to your children.
“A busy week, a slower day, brings time to dream and time to play”
(Godwin, 2012, back cover).
Annie Walker Illustrations. (Image). Retrieved December 13th 2013, from http://annawalker.com.au/annas-books/item/today- we-have-no-plans.html
Babyology. (Image). Retrieved December 13th 2013, from http://babyology.com.au/sunday-arts/today-we-have-no-plans-so- take-the-time-to-read-this-book.html
Godwin, J. (2012). Today we have no plans. Melbourne, Victoria: Penguin Group.
Hill, S. (2006). Developing early literacy: Assessment and teaching. Prahran, Victoria: Eleanor Curtain Publishing.
Winch, G., Johnston, R.R., March, P., Ljungdahl, L. & Holliday, M. (2010). Literacy: Reading, writing & children’s literature (4th ed.). South Melbourne, Victoria: Oxford University Press.