Book Review: Big Bob, Little Bob By James Howe

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Big Bob, Little Bob. James Howe. Illustrated by Laura Ellen Anderson. Candlewick Press, Somerville, 2016.

Preschool

Big Bob and Little Bob are the same in name only. The new neighbors learn how to navigate a different kind of friendship and discover that what makes us different can also bring us together.

WHAT I LOVE ABOUT THIS BOOK

In building a long relationship with reading, kids look for books they relate to. How they see themselves reflected on the pages. How they relate to the characters in the story. How the story problem can help the reader solve his own problems. This is a huge part of Print Motivation, which simply means enjoying the books we read. And there are a lot of different reasons that make a book a fun book to read.

James Howe has been writing books for decades. I fell in love with his characters: Bunnicula, Howard and Chester when I was a child. He has written early reader books and picture books as well. Howe is one of those authors who remembers what it was like to be a kid and this picture book is a reflection of his insight.

All kids feel out of place or different. There is a pressure to be like everyone else. Howe helps kids explore how to celebrate our differences instead of conforming to them. Sharing this story with a loved one will help kids feel safe as they explore this topic.

I also appreciate that he shows the complicated relationship between the neighbor boys and how conflict is handled not with action but with words. Picture books do so much more for our kids than build future readers. They help build empathy and problem solving skills that will benefit our kids as they go through school.

HOW TO USE THIS BOOK

Use this book as a conversation starter. Talk about a time you felt out of place. What you felt, how you acted and how you solved the problem. Sharing stories of our own emotional journeys will help our kids talk about their own feelings and allow a space for them to think about conflict with others before it happens and how they will handle the conflict. Books are always a great jumping off point for deeper talk with our kids.

I really like this activity from the Pinterested Parent blog. Take paper plates and draw different faces. Glue a popsicle/craft stick to the plate and label the emotion at the bottom of the face. It will connect the word with the picture increasing vocabulary. Read through the story again and stop and ask your child to lift up the face he thinks the character feels. For example:

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Image from Amazon

Read the page and ask your child: How do you think Little Bob feels when he doesn’t catch the ball?

The faces can even be used when your child is having strong feelings. Sometimes our kids can’t verbalize the emotion, but try using the plates to help her express what she feels. Always lead by example. Say how you feel about the disagreement you are having and choose the face that best expresses that. Then ask your child to do the same. It will help build emotional literacy and allow your child a better understanding of how to express herself.

What to Read Next

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

 

What books have you read with your child that has sparked interesting conversations? Share in the comments section of the post.

HAPPY READING!

Book Review: My First Touch and Feel Seasons by Xavier Deneux

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  • Board Book
  • Ages: 0-3
  • My First Touch and Feel Seasons, Deneux. Twirl/Tourbillon, 2016.

WHAT I LOVE ABOUT THIS BOOK

  • Bright Colors
  • Simple Illustrations
  • Unique and Rich Vocabulary
  • Tactile Learning
  • Sparks Conversation
  • Builds Reading Comprehension

Infants and toddlers explore the world through touch. They love to put toys, books and anything they find on the ground into their mouths. It is how they figure out what objects are and how the world works. This is the perfect age to explore reading with touch and feel books. My First Touch and Feel Seasons book has bright, simple illustrations and labels all the pictures on the page. It is a great book for building vocabulary, not only through the unique words present, but also through the textures on the page. It is proof that simple books can have big impacts on our children. Babies and toddlers will love the simplicity of the book. It is perfect for a waiting room or in the car. Board books make it is for little fingers to hold and turn pages and with the sturdy construction it can double as a teething ring.

It is proof that simple books can have big impacts on our children

This book will build your child’s words about seasons, but also much much more. You can talk about the textures on the page. How does water feel? Is sand scratchy or smooth? Is the sun hot or cold? For infants, of course they won’t answer! But the back and forth, ask a question and pause for an answer, helps them understand how conversations work. You might even find that your baby will babble back an answer. As language develops they will be able to answer simple questions with simple answers. But by starting the habit at birth will help build towards better reading comprehension in the future.

There are also a lot of colors to explore on the page, patterns and shapes. And of course each season has its animals and clothing and foods. This is a great book in building readers but will also keep young learners engaged and participating.

HOW TO USE THIS BOOK:

It can be uncomfortable to read a book that doesn’t have a story. At this age, infants and toddlers are interested in anything you show them. As soon as they are done he will let you know by turning his head, if he is a baby, or finding his favorite toy, if he is a toddler. Point out what you see and don’t worry if the child wants to skip pages. Let them lead and relax.

This book can be read lots of different ways. Focus on textures with one reading or the objects on the page in another. You can also do a read through of just colors. Books don’t always have to be read the same way.

Make up a story about what happens during each of the seasons. Where is the child and what is he doing? What do you think will happen next. Older kids can help you with the story and, for infants, they just want to hear the sound of your voice.

Infants and Toddlers love to explore, so take them out of the house and explore whatever season you are in. Take a walk or play in a yard or go to the park. No matter where you end up talk about what you see. Point out the leaves, or if there are no leaves, say why. Talk about the animals or insects, the temperature, whether it is windy or hot or cold or whatever else you see and feel around you. Mention the Touch and Feel book and relate your experiences outside with what you read inside.

WHAT TO READ NEXT

 

Here are just a few of the many books in Deneux’s My first touch and feel series.

(I am an Amazon affiliate. Clicking on the picture will take you to Amazon where if you make any purchases I will receive a portion of the sale.)

 

What are your favorite touch and feel books? Comment on the post and share ideas!

 

Happy Reading!