The Mixed-Up Chameleon

chamelonThe Mixed Up Chameleon is a wonderful book written by Eric Carle that helps children understand to accept themselves and celebrate their individuality.  This book begins with how a chameleon changes colors according to how he is feeling (great opportunity to compare this to human expressions and body language). The chameleon was sad and bored at the beginning of the story until he visited the zoo. He wanted to be like all of the other beautiful and exciting animals that he saw (e.g. “big and white like a polar bear”, “smart like a fox”, etc). Each animal that he met, he wished he could be like. His wishes all came true until  finally at the end of the story, he was hungry and unable to catch a fly because he was all “mixed up”. His last wish was that “I wish I could be myself” and it came true and he was again able to catch the fly and be “just a chameleon” again which made him very happy.

I love this story because it teaches such an important lesson. It teaches children that when you try to be so much like other people, you lose yourself. Such an important lesson that both children and parents can appreciate.

Language tips: Discuss colors, feelings and different animals. Each animal has a different attribute that you can discuss and define (e.g. “What does smart mean?”, “What does strong mean?”). Discuss with your child by asking them what they wish for and if they know of anyone they would like to be like and why. Ask your child to describe themselves and what attributes make them who they are. This book can begin many wonderful discussions with your child ages 4-8.

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