Raschka, Chris (1993). Yo! Yes?. New York: Orchard Books.
Plot Description: Two lonely boys meet on a city street and through an exchange of one or two word phrases they go from uncertainty about each other to friendship. The African American boy starts the conversation with, ‘Yo’ and the shy white boy hesitantly replies, ‘Yes?’ Through their exchange we discover that they are lonely, but happily they have found a friend in each other. There a total of 33 words in the entire story (including the words that are repeated).
Quantitative Reading Level : Lexile Measure: BR (Beginning Reader), Interest Level: Lower Grades (K),
Qualitative Reading Analysis: The entire story is made up of only 33 words. Sentences are all simple and none more than two words long. There are no allusions to other texts. The themes of loneliness and companionship are explored. Experiences of speaking to strangers on the street may be common to some, but not to others. Students will likely be able to relate the experience to making a new friend by striking up a conversation somewhere like school, the park, daycare, community activities, etc. The conventionality is largely explicit and easy to understand. A bit more depth is required in interpreting the bigger questions behind their one and two word phrases. The illustrations help convey the emotions behind the short dialogue. The sadness and loneliness behind ‘no friends’ is amplified by the downcast eyes and slump of the illustration, just as the jubilation of both boys when they agree to become friends, is amplified by not only the word ‘yow!’ but the jumping for joy conveyed in the illustration.
Content Area: English, Literature
Content Area Standard: English Language Arts Standards: Reading
Craft and structure: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.2.4 Describe how words and phrases (e.g., regular beats, alliteration, rhymes, repeated lines) supply rhythm and meaning in a story, poem, or song.
Integration of Knowledge and Ideas: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.2.7 Use information gained from the illustrations and words in a print or digital text to demonstrate understanding of its characters, setting, or plot.
Curriculum Suggestions: Have students discuss the dialogue in the story and the author’s choice of words and rhythm. How do the illustrations help fill in what the sparse dialogue leaves out. Have students illustrate their own meeting with a friend and provide captions. Discuss the similarities and differences between the boys. How are their similarities more important than their differences?
Supporting Digital Content:
Character names/descriptions: The characters are unnamed boys looking for friendship. One is an outgoing African American boy and the other is a reserved Caucasian boy.
High interest annotation: Sometimes you don’t need a lot of words to convey your thoughts.