One of my very favorite picture books is Fortunately by Reme Charlip. This is a book that my Mom read to me when I was a child, it was a favorite of my own children and it is always a hit in my classroom.
The simple book follows the ups and downs of Ned as he tries to get to a surprise party.
Fortunately, Ned was invited to a surprise party.Unfortunately, the party was in Florida and Ned lived in New York.Fortunately, a friend loaned Ned an airplane.Unfortunately, the motor exploded.Fortunately, there was a parachute in the airplane.Unfortunately, there was a hole in the parachute.
The text continues this way with twists that my Pre-kers think are hysterical. The illustrations go between color for the fortunate events and black and white for the unfortunate events.
I love this book because my kids and I always find ourselves making our own versions, either just for fun or in response to real life situations. In Kindergarten, I used the book as a springboard for a silly class book. Even after our book was completed, the kids kept telling their own fortunately/unfortunately stories. When I was getting my masters I wrote a lesson plan that I loved for a unit on the gold rush. As a culminating activity for the unit I read the book and then the class worked in small groups to write their own Fortunately books describing the hardships of getting to California and then finding gold. The results were a great review, fun to do, and often resulted in the happy ending of selling jeans or shovels and fortunately making lots of money. I also used the book when I was a substitute teacher as a fun extra activity (with upper elementary kids). After reading the book, we would play a cooperative game where we go around the circle and keep adding the next line to the story. I'd start with something simple such as "fortunately it was time for recess... or fortunately there was no school today...." One final way the book can be used is to focus on something good when something bad happens. "Unfortunately I broke my arm, fortunately it was my left arm." My own kids still talk this way sometimes because it can be rather habit forming (and fun).
I found several interesting youtube videos relating to the book. There is a youtube video of someone reading the whole book here. This is a youtube video explaining using Fortunately/Unfortunately in improvisation. These are my favorite pages because some days are just like this...
Fortunately he missed the pitchfork.
Unfortunately he missed the haystack.
I'm linking up with The Teaching Thief's Fiction Friday.