Today we shared what is now Ms McLeods favourite Dr Seuss book. In the past Ms McLeod has always vowed that ‘Are you my Mother?’ was her pick of Dr Seuss’s collection, however, after today she will admit that ‘The Sneetches’ has made it’s way to the top of her list. In this story we are introduced to the Sneetches who are odd-looking creatures that have socially divided themselves into two separate groups: The Star-Bellied Sneetches and the Plain-Bellied Sneetches. The Star-Bellied Sneetches are the dominant group and shun the Plain-Bellied Sneetches. The Plain-Belly Sneetches are fairly meek and spend most of their days wishing they had stars of their own. The Sneetches segregated living situation is suddenly thrown out of whack when they get a visit from Sylvester McMonkey McBean. When he arrives on the beaches, he gets right to work and sets up a Star-On Machine. At the sight of this contraption, the Plain-Belly Sneetches are more than willing to pay the $3 fee to climb into the machine and become part of the “in” crowd. Now, obviously, there is no way for the original Star-Bellied Sneetches to discriminate against the no-longer-plain-bellied Sneetches, so they become very mad. McBean has a solution just waiting for them – The Star-Off Machine. A trip through this machine costs $10 and leaves the Star-Bellied Sneetches star-free and exclusive once more. I’m sure you can guess where the story goes from here. The Sneetches bankrupt themselves running between the two machines trying to either fit in or stand out, and at the end of the day they are unable to tell one Sneetch from the other. However, despite McBean’s insistence as he drives away rich, that you can “never teach a Sneetch”, the Sneetches come to the realization that “Sneetches are Sneetches and no kind of Sneetch is the best on the beaches”.
There are so many wonderful lessons to be learnt from this book. We got half of the grade to act out the story while the other half took photos with the camera app on the iPads. The students then used the ‘Book Creator’ app to document different parts of the story. We hope they came away with a better understanding of discrimination, prejudice and consumerism. If, however, the message was lost on them they certainly had a lot of fun anyway!