Book Review: When’s My Birthday by Julie Fogliano

Written by Julie Fogliano and Illustrated by Christian Robinson

Roaring Books Press: New York, 2017

Good for any age but particularly Ages 18 months to 3.

What the Book is About

Every child can’t wait until their birthday and this book shares the excitement and joy of waiting for a day that never seems to arrive.

What I Like About the Book

The illustrations have the whimsy of childhood and use mixed media for a fresh approach. The illustrator, Christian Robinson is a Caldecott and Coretta Scott King Honor artist. You may have seen his other collaborations with Mac Bennett, Cynthia Rylant, Adam Rex, Kelly DiPuccio, Margaret Wise Brown and so many others. His illustrations engage the youngest readers through their simplicity and childlike whimsy. I adore the books he illustrates and so excited to see another great writing partnership in this book.

The book, while simple in text, carries a lot of vocabulary to enrich your child’s speech throughout the pages. The pictures will spark conversation and help your reader learn new words.

A lot of opportunities to practice counting appear throughout the book. Who doesn’t love to count candles! And food! And snowflakes. Build math literacy while having fun.

Books that have repeating phrases are great books to use to highlight print awareness. Anytime you get to the refrain, follow along with your finger and have your child say the phrase. While they are not yet reading the words, this connects the words on the page to the words they hear you reading. In addition the text appears in different ways and offers different ways to point out how books are read.

The text reminds me of a child’s excited wonder. All kids are excited about birthdays and the cadence of the story fits our kids natural speech patterns making this a perfect read.

The author obviously has experience with young children because it hit exactly how my kids talk about their birthdays as if they are always just around the corner. Birthdays are a great way to talk about how time passes and to look at calendars. Not only will it build math skills it also is a great way to beef up narrative descriptions and reading comprehension.

when’s my birthday, explores the excitement and wonder of childhood in an accessible and familiar way to our young readers. The illustrations by award winning Christian Robinson and the lyrical text of Julie Fogliano work together to create an engaging read that your child will come to over and over again.

Take It Further

The learning doesn’t have to end with the closing of the book. Try these activities at home to continue the learning and fun of the book.

calendar

Develop a home calendar!

The passage of time is difficult for our kids to understand. This post has a lot of great ideas to adapt for your home to help your child learn to become familiar with calendars. The one I like in particular is a list of the days of the week and then pictures for the different activities that will happen during the week. You could do this in a variety of ways: morning routine, bedtime routine, lunch/naptime. It will not only help your kids understand what will be happening during the day, but it will help them begin to connect to calendars. Don’t worry if they don’t seem to get the concept of today, yesterday and tomorrow, all you need to do is provide the access and as they age the understanding will develop.

balloons

Throw a birthday party for a favorite stuffed animal!

It may be months until your child’s birthday, so recreate the fun of a party for a favorite toy or animal. Gather art supplies and make banners and pictures to decorate the room, building scissors skills and strengthening writing skills. Bake cupcakes, cookies or a cake. The recipe is a good way to demonstrate print awareness by following along with your finger as you read the recipe and the measurements, not only show numbers, but exhibit measuring skills. Young kids love to pour, so give them an opportunity to help dump in the ingredients. Set a table and have fun!

kid writing

Practice writing!

Make lists! Of guests, of food for the party, of party games or more. Have your child dictate and write down what they say. This is a great brainstorming activity so there are no wrong answers. It is a way to introduce them to sequencing by adding numbers to each item listed. Also it connects the words they say to the written words. You can continue by creating your own invitations. If your child is older preschool, let them create the invitations. Spelling will be creative but it is a great way to encourage writing.

What to read next

(I am an Amazon Affiliate. I am not paid to suggest or review books, but if you click on a link it takes you to facebook and if you make any purchases I receive a portion of the sale.)

Gerald and Piggie never disappoint! This book will provide a fun conversation starter with your child about how hard it is to wait.

 

 

Kids really have no concept of time. This will help them explore the feelings they have about excitement and waiting.

 

 

A different way to talk about daily routines through the sounds we hear.

 

 

What books do you enjoy with your child about birthdays, routines, or waiting? Share in comments.

 

 

Happy Reading

Book Review: Big Hair, Don’t Care by Crystal Swain-Bates

(I am an Amazon Affiliate, which means if you click on the picture it will take you to Amazon, where if you make a purchase, I receive a portion of the sale.)

Crystal Swain-Bates. Illustrated by Megan Bair. Goldest Karat Publishing, LLC, 2013.

What this Book is About

A girl with big hair, different from everyone else’s, finds all the reasons why she loves her hair!

What I like About this Book

The text has a strong cadence and full of rhyme. Rhymes help build phonological awareness, which children need in order to build reading skills. Rhymes break apart the different sounds in the words, strengthening the ability to sound out words.

Big Hair Million Dollar words
Find ways to use these new words with your child throughout the week.

 

Vocabulary

The vocabulary the author uses is strong and unique. She describes different hair styles with accompanying pictures. She chooses descriptive words like view, unique, chic, flair, fluffy, crowd and so many more. Vocabulary is essential in building future readers. The more words a child knows and hears, the larger the “database” she has to pull from when learning to read.

 

Print Awareness

This is a great book to use to develop print awareness because the text is large and easy to follow. Print awareness helps kids learn how to follow along with the text. While you read, use your finger to follow the text. It will teach your young reader that we read books front to back, left to right. The illustrations follow the text of the story which builds strong reading comprehension.

Print Motivation and Narrative Skills

Kids always love to participate in a story. With the repetitive phrase: “I love my hair” it won’t take long for your reader to start repeating it with you. This develops narrative skills as well as print motivation. Both of these early literacy skills motivate kids to enjoy reading and understand what they read better.

Confidence and Self-Esteem

Books that focus on daily life and activities are always a crowd pleaser. The simple illustrations and following a girl through activities most kids are familiar with brings comfort and familiarity all the while teaching them new concepts and words. It still is hard to find books with protagonists of different cultures and backgrounds and I appreciate so much this is a confidence building and universal book that all children will relate to.

Take the Book Further

Build vocabulary while you have fun! Find new hairstyles on the internet or check out a book from the local library and play hair salon. Take turns being the client and beautician. Dig out aprons, hair curlers, brushes, bobby pins and more. Write out the names of the different tools and set the items on the paper.

Talk about what your child likes about herself. This book is all about being different and loving the differences. Start by telling him something you like about yourself. Write down his answer and the answers of the other people in your family and make a book. Another great way to increase vocabulary through conversation and narrative skills through descriptions.

Try Out These Other Confidence Boosting Books

 

What are your favorite books to read about self-esteem and confidence? Comment in the post to share book ideas!

Happy Reading!

Book Review: Wet by Carey Sookocheff

Ages: Toddler-Early Preschool

Wet. Carey Sookocheff, Godwin Books: New York, 2017.

(I am an Amazon Affiliate. If you click on a picture it takes you to Amazon, where if you make a purchase I receive a percentage of the sale)

About this Book

A book all about the different ways we can feel wet. Either a day at the pool, rain, our goldfish, mopping floors, this book is a child-like exploration of the world of water.

Vocabulary

The text in this book is very simple but there are plenty of opportunities to build vocabulary through the pictures. The author deepened the text on the page through the contextual pictures. Take a picture tour of the book before you begin reading. Look at the pages and point out different objects and name them. For example on the first page the boy is at a pool. Talk about the pool deck, the bench, the tile on the walls and the life preserver etc. Talking about the pictures in the book is as helpful as reading the text when we teach our children new words.

Phonological Awareness

Although this isn’t a rhyming or lyrical book, there are ways to help play with the sounds of the words so a child can hear the different syllables. For example in the line:

Sometimes I get wet

Very Slowly

Try drawing out the syllables for Ve rrryy Sloowwlly. Not only do you demonstrate the meaning through how you say it, reading at different speeds helps liven up a book.

Also there are a lot of great songs that would be a great supplement to the story.

Letter Knowledge and Narrative Skills

On each page help your child match the main idea of the picture with the text. For example as the boy goes down the slide. Point out the word slide. Talk about the letters you see that make up the word and then point out the slide. This also helps build reading comprehension by connecting the words on the page with the pictures that take the story a little further.

Print Awareness

Take time to show the different parts of the book. Using your finger highlight the title. How many letters are in the title? Who do you think the boy on the cover is hiding from? Show the end pages and the title page and as you flip through the pages ask questions about what you see. Have your child make predictions about what the book is about and what might happen.

Print Motivation

Many picture books have a story question and answer but this book explores a topic that your child is naturally curious about. Rain, pools, fish, cleaning all of these are connected through water! Your child’s natural curiosity will drive the interest in the book and help them think about a topic, like water, differently.

Experience the Book

Make a list of all the different ways a person can get wet. Write down what your child says in a list. This will not only build letter knowledge but also sequencing.

Take a favorite action figure that can get wet and a glass of water. Submerge the figure different ways like the boy in the book. How do you put the toy in water quickly or slowly. Is there an in between speed? Have fun with water play either in a bath or filling up the kitchen sink with water and some dish soap and let your child explore water with measuring cups, spoons, bowls, cups, funnels and whatever else you can find!

More Books about Exploration

Is anyone more curious than Curious George?

 

Happy Reading!

Book Review: If my love were a fire truck by Luke Reynolds

Ages: 2-5

If my love were a fire truck: a daddy’s love song. Luke Reynolds. Illustrated by Jeff Mack. Doubleday Books for Young Readers: New York, 2017.

(I am an Amazon Affiliate. If you click a picture, it takes you to Amazon where if you make a purchase I receive a portion of the sale)

What the Book is About

A book celebrating the love between a father and son through bright pictures and a rhythmic text.

Before you start the book

Look at the front and back cover. Point out the title while you say it. Show your child the author and illustrator’s names. On the back cover make the onomatopoeia sounds. Ask your child what might make those sounds. (This will build Letter Knowledge and Print Awareness)

Look at the title page and ask what the child and Dad are doing and before you read, flip through the pages of the book and have the child think about what is happening. Is the child waking up or going to bed? Who drives a fire truck? Who do you think will win the race?

This encourages the child to engage with the book, building Print Motivation. Highlights unique vocabulary and demonstrates how books are read.

Phonological Awareness

This book has a strong rhythmic text which builds phonological awareness. The rhyming text helps kids hear the small parts of words which assists them as they become independent readers.

Take the last word on each page and make a list of rhyming words. Write them out in sidewalk chalk, dry erase board or a piece of paper so the child can connect the writing with the sounds. This will also strengthen letter awareness.

Pick a few words and clap out the syllables. Make a list of words that have one, two or three syllables. Can you find any with more than three? This is another way to highlight the sounds that make up each word, and the list making or sorting will aid Narrative Skills.

Narrative Skills

Make your own If my love were sentences. Think of activities both you and your child enjoy. Write them down and have your child illustrate.

Make a list of the different illustrations and whether they happen on land, in the sky or in the water. It not only helps your child orient the pictures, but it helps them think about the story in a different way which leads to strong reading comprehension.

Vocabulary

Write down any words your child may not be as familiar with.

Or use this list:

  • rodeo
  • buck
  • bray
  • bound
  • shield
  • plain

Try to use these words throughout the day to help your child learn new words.

More stories about Dads

Book Review: Blue Sky White Stars by Sarvinder Naberhaus

Ages 2-5

Blue Sky White Stars by Sarvinder Naberhaus. Dial Books for Young Readers: New York, 2017.

(I am an Amazon Affiliate. If you click on a picture it takes you to Amazon where if you make a purchase I receive a portion of the sale.)

What the Book is About

Beautiful prose and gorgeous illustrations weave together America’s story, its monuments and its flag. A land that is as diverse as the people who live here is highlighted in this book.

Print Awareness and Letter Knowledge

Start with the title page. Say the title and trace as you read it. Have the child count with you the number of words in the title?

Why do we trace the words on the page? It connects our youngest readers, not only with the letter shapes, but how we read a book. Left to right and down a page.

Look at the front cover. Ask if the people look the same. Point out glasses, hair color, clothes, skin color, etc.

Ask the child what she thinks all the people are watching. Then flip through the pages of the book and ask questions about the pictures. Have the child guess what the book is about.

Print Motivation

This can be used as a participation book. Read the first several pages or even one time through. Encourage the child to say with you the phrase, Blue Sky White Stars. Kids love to be a part of the story and participating helps them learn even more.

Phonological Awareness

Although homonyms and homophones might be too advanced to discover on their own, point out the letter differences and then say each word. The repetition will help your child hear each individual sound. Even if they don’t understand the concept of homonyms, these experiences with concepts as a young child will build a solid base for learning later in life.

Sing Yankee Doodle along with this video:

Or This little light of mine

or You’re a Grand Old Flag

Narrative Skills or Building Reading Comprehension

Ask questions about the book:

  1. What picture do you like best? Why? Is it the colors? Or the scene (what is happening on the page?)
  2. Have your child describe a picture and see if you can guess what it is. This encourages the child to look at the picture in details, deriving more context as well as trying out some new words.
  3. After a couple of read throughs, have the child “tell” the story from the pictures. You be the listener! Getting the right words isn’t important, but seeing whether the child comprehended what the essence of the story is.

Vocabulary

For so little text, there are so many big words to use! The rich illustrations demonstrate how critical pictures are in early reading. It helps expand vocabulary as well as tell the story. As children age, they need pictures less and less. But these first years of listening, the power is often in the pictures.

Using the pictures make a list of words your child hasn’t heard often.

  1. Conestoga Wagon
  2. Pioneers
  3. The West
  4. Settlement
  5. Wagon Train
  6. Windmill
  7. Canyon
  8. Diverse
  9. Graduation
  10. Astronaut
  11. Proud
  12. Immigrant
  13. CitizenAmericanFlagStars and StripesAbraham LincolnCountry

After the Book

Find symbols of America using this picture book as a guide. One of the best parts of the book is how it celebrates the diversity of the american experience. Using newspapers and magazines, create a collage of our country. Label the pictures to reinforce letter awareness.

 

What did you try?

Tell us in the comments sections, what you tried. What worked and didn’t work? Any other ideas you used?

Happy Reading!

Book Review: Trees by Lemniscates

I am an Amazon Affiliate. If you make a purchase by clicking the link, I receive a portion of the sales.

Ages 2-5

Written and Illustrated by Lemniscates. Candlewick Studio: Somerville, 2015

What the Book is About

Mixed media illustrations all about trees. How they change, where they grow, how they communicate and who benefits from having them around. A great way to encourage young children to explore the world.

About this post

Below I have highlighted different ways to incorporate pre-literacy skills to engage the listener and build reading skills. You won’t use each skill in every reading, but with each reading, pick a few different skills to highlight and use those suggestions.

Print Awareness and Print Motivation

When you read the book point out the title. Have the listener trace the letters with his finger. Ask what he thinks the book is about. What else does he see on the front cover? Point out the different tree shapes and sizes and have the child show you the tallest or most round tree.

Open the book and use your finger to underline the title and author. Remind the listener that the author writes the words and the illustrator draws the pictures. Sometimes, like this book the author and the illustrator are the same person.

This encourages Print Awareness and Print Motivation which orients the child to the parts of the book as well as leads the child to think about reading before it happens, deepening reading comprehension.

Narrative Skills

Build a dialog with the book. In the opening pages, ask the child what season it looks like outside your own windows. Are there leaves on the trees? Do you see the grass? What is the temperature, hot or cold?

As you read the story, stop and talk about the illustrations. For example, in the story text, the roots are referred to as feet. Talk about how this is a metaphor because roots are like the feet of the tree. Another page says the trees talk to each other and this is called communication. Ask how she believes trees communicate? What do you think trees talk about? If you were a tree, where would you live? By the river, in the wilderness or in the city?

Letter Knowledge

Using the title page, what letters do you see? Are any of them in your name?

Phonological Awareness

This isn’t a rhyming book, but there are ways to incorporate this important skill as a follow up to a reading. Come up with a rhyming tree. Ask the listener, what rhymes with tree? Draw a picture of a tree and for each rhyming word make a branch on the tree. The leaves can be silly words that rhyme but aren’t real words.

There are a lot of great finger plays, poems, songs and rhymes available online.

Apple Tree from letsplaykidsmusic.com

Apple tree, apple tree,

Will your apple fall on me?

I won’t cry, I won’t shout,

If your apple knocks me out!

You can also make up your own rhyme to a familiar song like this one sung to the tune The Wheels on the Bus:

The branches on the tree go up and down

up and down, up and down

The branches on the tree go up and down

In the breeze.

The leaves on the tree swing to and fro

To and fro, To and fro

The leaves on the tree swing to and fro

In the breeze.

The birds in the tree flap their wings

Flap their wings, Flap their wings

The birds in the tree flap their wings

In the breeze.

Take it Further

Go on a tree scavenger hunt. Look for different trees in your neighborhood or at a local park. Collect leaves, take notes on how the bark feels, how the branches grow, does the tree have fruit, etc. When home, make rubbings of the leaves with crayons and make a leaf book. Write the name of the tree and its characteristics.

The book’s illustrations are in mixed media, which means a variety of art techniques are used to make the pictures. Make your own mixed media pictures experimenting with texture, paint, paper, crayons, colored pencils and more to draw your own wilderness scene.

Don’t forget to post pictures in the comments below to share your child’s creativity!

Happy Reading!

Book Review: THE QUEEN’S HANDBAG by Steve Antony

The Queen’s Handbag. Steve Antony. Scholastic Press, New York, 2015.

 

 

 

What this book is about

A sneaky swan makes off with the queen’s handbag and she chases the bird throughout familiar British landmarks. Will the Queen ever get her bag back?

What I like about this book

 

VOCABULARY

The pictures are simple pencil drawings but have a lot of action that drives the story on the page. Outside of the text, a child will learn a lot of new vocabulary words from the pictures alone. Carriage, Bobbies, Convertible, Parachute and so much more. In addition, young listeners will learn about important British landmarks and geography through the text on the page. In addition, there is a glossary in the back with each of the landmarks and a brief description of what they are. The synonyms the author uses to mix up the word chase will also lead the listener to learning new words. This book is rich with vocabulary proving even simple stories provide rich ground for learning.

NARRATIVE SKILLS

Another benefit of this story is the strong narrative. The story starts with the Queen losing her handbag and each page builds a sequence of events that leads to her catching the swan and getting her bag back. With each repeated reading the child will begin to guess what the next page holds, adding fun to the story while she learns. Strong sequencing helps build the important Narrative Skills young learners need to become future readers.

PHONOLOGICAL AWARENESS

The way the author plays with words will also help build phonological awareness. He uses alliteration throughout the book to help children hear and break apart the smaller sounds in the words. The strong cadence of the story also reinforces the word sounds. Children also build Phonological Awareness through literary devices like alliteration.

This fun, short story is sure to provide lots of laughs along with a lot of learning.

How to use this book

This story provides not only a fun story but a unique way to experience the culture in a different country. Look for these other books at the library that explore British culture, history and geography. Find a few and read them. Talk about the different places the stories explore. Find a printable map of England here, and put each place you and your child read about on the map.

In the illustrations of the book some of the crowd is waving the Union Jack and the book is all illustrated in the colors of the flag. Checkout one of these books at the library on flags and compare the US Flag to that of England’s. Ask what is the same and what is different about the flags. Find the flag for your state and see how it compares to the US Flag. These types of questions and activities get your child thinking critically about the stories she reads and how they relate to other information she has heard or read.

There are a lot of words in the book your child may not be familiar with.Repetition is the best way for children to learn new words. Print off the pdf below and cut the words into cards. Have your child act out each of the words on the card to help him cement the meaning of the word. Have fun and decorate the cards with the action as well. Make it a charades game as your child becomes more familiar with the words.

Drove (Click on the link to print and download the card PDF)

Make a passport of your child by taking his picture gluing it to a book made out of folded over paper. For each country book you read, stamp the book, just like you would if you traveled into a new country. See how many different countries you can travel with your child this summer!

What to read next

Even young readers can participate with board books! Try out this fun series called Tiny Travelers.

 

What is your favorite picture book about traveling?

 

Happy Reading!!

Book Review: Wake Up! By Helen Frost and Rick Lieder

Wake UpWake Up! Poem by Helen Frost and photographs by Rick Lieder. Published by Candlewick Press: Somerville, MA, 2017.

A poem about new life in the world all around us. Illustrated with beautiful photographs that invite the reader, not only explore the pages of the book, but the world right outside the front door.

WHAT I LIKE ABOUT THIS BOOK

This book needs to be discussed. It is rare to find books that so naturally include conversation starters within the text. Conversations aren’t just a way to connect people together, they are also important building blocks of future reading success. Talking in a positive way, not only provides a safe space and fond memories, but it strengthens vocabulary and builds reading comprehension. The natural flow of conversation will connect what the child sees on the page to the text and even the world around her. It provides the perfect opportunity to enrich dialogue between you and your child.

This natural conversation will also strengthen vocabulary. The language the poet uses is unique and fresh and in addition there is a pictorial glossary at the end of the book to provide more information about the animals and insects explored in the pages of the book.

The photographs are simple, yet detailed at the same time. The close up shots provide a different vantage point for children to look at the natural world. Preschool children are very concrete thinkers, so this is a perfect book to help him gain a better understanding of how the world works and his place in it. And most important, the mystery and awe and wonder of the natural world.

HOW TO USE THIS BOOK

This story begs to be read outside at a picnic in a park. It invites the reader and listener to explore the outside world find their own new beginnings. After reading the book, go on a scavenger hunt to see if you can find any of the animals photographed. Use your phone or camera and take your own close up shots and then when you get home, print them out with labels and create your own Wake Up! book.

Allow conversation to flow

Ask questions your child like where she thinks the different animals may be and why? Where does she think they go at night and what does she think they eat. Allow space for her to ask her own questions as you walk. It is okay if you don’t have all the answers! That is what makes nature so interesting and awe-inspiring. And tell her you can visit the library to find out more information on what she finds most interesting and perplexing.

Don’t forget to get up close

The book encourages looking at nature from a different perspective, so tell your child it’s okay to get down on the ground and look at things up close! Stones and dirt, mulch and sticks. Plants and flowers. Take the time to lay on your backs and look at the sky. Watch the clouds roll by and discover hidden shapes and even label the different types of clouds you see.

WHAT TO READ NEXT

The poet and author have collaborated on several similar picture books. (Note, I am an Amazon Affiliate. If you click on a picture it will take you to Amazon, where if you make a purchase I receive a small percentage of the sale. The opinions in the review are mine and I have not been paid for this review)

 

What books would about the natural world would you add to the WHAT TO READ NEXT list?

Happy Reading!!

Book Review: This house, once by Deborah Freedman

  • This House, Once
  • Written by Deborah Freedman
  • Atheneum Books for Young Readers: New York, 2017
  • A story about how a house came to be and the materials used to build it before they were used.

A poetic picture book about where the pieces and parts of a house come from and what they might have been before they became a house.

What I Like About This Book

Books that build a strong sequence are perfect for preschoolers. Building a story little by little helps strengthen narrative skills in future readers. Not only is the child learning the materials used in building houses, he also sees the world around him in a different way. See what is in nature and imagine what it could and can be.

The language is unique and fresh in this story. It isn’t too often in a day that a child will hear the words colossal, oozed, cleft, shingled, melted. Each repeated reading the child will learn the words and build a strong dictionary in her mind for when she begins to read later in her school years.

The pictures are simple and complement the text well. Just as the text builds the words around a house, the pictures build the image of a house page by page. It is amazing how this thoughtful act of placement helps children develop their own ability to retell stories.

Lastly, the lilting flow of the text makes this a perfect curl- up- under- the- blanket read.

This door was once a colossal oak tree

about three hugs around

and as high as the blue.

A more perfect sentence was never written! This type of writing not only draw the child into the book but the parent as well making it a shoo-in for reading over and over and over again. With each repetition the child’s vocabulary and narrative skills will build.

How to Use This Book

This is a great book to try and recreate the story on the page. Go outside and gather sticks, dirt, stone and other natural materials and build a house. Name each of the materials you gather. For example if you find branches from a maple tree, look at the leaves and the bark and the roots.

Ask questions about the book after reading like, What is the door made of? How are windows made? Don’t forget to look at the pictures and talk about what is happening on the page that might not be mentioned in the text. This helps build reading comprehension.

Talk about your house or apartment. What is it made of? Start with the door, just like the book and work your way up. Another great way to converse with your child in a positive way, while building vocabulary and relating back to the story.

What to Read Next?

Try these other books that build strong narrative skills.

bag i'm taking to grandmas

Book Review: Round by Joyce Sidman

  • Written By Joyce Sidman
  • Illustrated by Taeeun Yoo
  • Publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt: Boston, New York
  • 2017

Round follows a girl explorer as she discovers the many round shapes she sees and feels in the world.  the world and discovers the many round shapes she sees and feels. Big or small, old or new, moving or stationary it is a perfect read to share with children to grow curiosity about the world around them.

What I like about this Book

Sidman is a children’s poet who writes about nature. She has won a Newberry Honor, a Caldecott Honors and many other awards. She understands well a child’s curiosity of nature and how children naturally gravitate to books about the tangible and real. Preschoolers are very concrete learners and thinkers and this book leads a child to explore the round shapes she sees in her everyday life. She not only talks about the form of round, but also how it moves depending on its mass. She talks about how rain splats and ripples in the water. Dung beetles and the ball it rolls, spins and bounces. Cliffs that start out with sharp edges and are worn away by water and wind and rain. Round isn’t just a shape!

Sidman’s use of words builds strong vocabulary in its readers. She uses fresh language to describe what the child sees in the book. Just a few of her words are  hatch, swell, and budding. The more unique words a child hears in her everyday life the better vocabulary she has to pull from when she begins to read.

Her use of language is also beautiful. Children this young, won’t be able to grasp the metaphors she uses, but the cadence of the story will attract them to the book over and over and over again. This is called Print Motivate and it is an important stepping stone to building future readers.

Or show themselves,

night after night,

rounder and rounder,

until the whole sky holds its breath.

I especially like the last pages of the book that explains why there are so many round things in nature and why it matters that those things are round. Even I learned something from this addition!

How to Use This Book

This is a book that begs to be read outside in a park, a field, near a pond or stream. Spread out a blanket and curl up together. Read the book a few times. Talk about the pictures on the page. A lot of the unique vocabulary is also in the pictures! Afterwards, take a nature walk and see what round shapes your child can spot. Point out what you see and don’t just talk about the shape, but explore the texture as well. If possible, see how it moves and compare how one round object moves in comparison to another.

Go to the store and find round foods. Make a lunch or snack with what you discover together in the store. Talk about the taste, touch, smell and feel of these foods. And if you are feeling adventurous and don’t mind a mess. Try dropping, rolling, spinning or another creative movement.

Find paper and have your child cut out different sizes of circles. Make new shapes with them, order them from biggest to smallest and smallest to biggest. Find different ways to use the paper circles.

What to Read Next

Discover Joyce Sidman’s poetry and nature exploration in these other great books.

 

What are your favorite children’s books about nature? Share in the comments.

 

Happy Reading!!