Book Review: I Love You Like a Pig by Mac Barnett

Reading aloud together is one of the most important parts of the day for any family. Not only does it build a reading routine, but it sets aside a special time for you and your child. A time of no interruptions, no consequences, no to do lists. It is simply a time to be together.

I Love You Like a Pig by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Greg Pizzoli, is a perfect read for curling up and spending time together. It provides whimsical ways to say I love you. The text and pictures work well together and allows the child to fill in the blank by deriving context for the pictures. After a few read throughs with your child, pause and have them say the end of the sentence. This not only builds narrative skills and reading comprehension but kids love to participate in reading and this is the perfect way to engage them with the book.

Books with onomatopoeia are always crowd pleasers. As a bonus they help build phonological awareness and letter knowledge. There are words sprinkled throughout the pictures and it helps to point those out.

Along with emotional vocabulary, the book has a lot of rich words that will grow the words your child knows. Tuna, fossil, banker are just a few of the words in the text, but if you look at the pictures with your child you will be able to expand their word knowledge even more. What kind of hats are the tuna fish, monster and elephant wearing? Bowler Hats. The cake the boy brings pig is a tiered cake. It has three layers. Talk about the pictures before or after you read the story and point out objects like the record player your child probably hasn’t seen before.

You can also build vocabulary by going on a word/object scavenger hunt. Write out different words in the book: pig, happy, monster, lucky, window, smiling, tuna, funny, fossil, sweet, banker, crazy, raspberries, tree, rowboat, bread, milk. Cut the words into slips and go around the house finding objects that fit the word. Label the object with the correct word slip. Teach letter knowledge along with new words.

The sound play in the text not only makes it a delightful read, but helps build phonological awareness. “Funny like a fossil.” or “You’re crazy like raspberries.” Help your child hear the f or z sound. Take it further and find words that start with those sounds in the room you are reading in.

After reading the book come up with your own fun and silly “I love you like…” sentences. It reinforces the narrative of the story and encourages your child to think up his own story. Write down what he says and have him illustrate. Another way to reinforce the ideas of the book is to make a graph of what different people in your family like to eat. One of the sentences is, “I love you like bread and milk.” Ask family members how many like milk, water etc. Plot it on a graph and introduce math skills along with reading.

I Love You Like a Pig isn’t just a fun book about all the different ways we love each other, it is a strong literacy tool that children will enjoy while they learn. It is a perfect example of how critical author/illustrator teams are in producing fun, lively books that will have kids and families reading over and over again.

Just a few of books by Mac Barnett

 

Does your family have any funny sayings to tell each other how you care?

Happy Reading

Book Review: Good Morning City by Pat Kiernan

Good Morning City. Pat Kiernan. Pictures by Pascal Campion. Farrar Straus Giroux. New York, 2016.

Toddler and Early Preschool

A city doesn’t wake up all at once. See how different people start the day. Some wake up before the sun comes up and others don’t open their eyes until the morning is well underway.

WHAT I LOVE ABOUT THIS BOOK

The natural rhythm of the story builds a natural narrative. Books with strong narratives help children understand that stories have beginning, middles and ends as well as how the story builds throughout the pages. Narrative skills help children develop reading comprehension and create her own stories. Pay attention to how the beginning pages show only one or two people and as the story progresses the pages are busier and busier until the end when it shows a family waking up.

The vocabulary is unique and playful and fun. Here is a line from the third page of the story.

It’s busy inside the bakery.

Measure. Mix. Knead.

Fresh bread will soon rise like the sun.

In this one passage you see the fresh words: Measure, mix, knead. They are each in a sentence of their own which also highlights letter knowledge. Each word is set apart and brings more focus to it. The first sentence also has a cadence which helps children hear the sounds that make up the words. It’s busy inside the bakery. If you clap along while you read the sentence you will hear the beat. Not only does it make for a great sentence it is fun to read. Lastly, the passage uses a metaphor. It likens bread to the rising sun, not only giving a great picture of the bread it follows the story of the city waking up. Although your child might be too young to make metaphors of her own, hearing them will make them familiar and easier to recall when she begins writing on her own.

I love when authors use onomatopoeia in writing for children. Not only are the words fun to say, they give new sounds which helps build phonological awareness. The more sounds your child hears in a book the better reader he will be in the future.

Print motivation is a fancy way of saying how kids enjoy books encourages them to read more books. This book motivates kids to read in many ways. It follows normal routines he will connect to. How the bakery he goes to prepares for the day, how the morning paper gets delivered and how people get to work and school. Also, the pictures are fantastic, large two page spreads really showing the action of the text. Both these in combination make for a read your child will request over and over. And the more a child reads a book, the better! He will learn new vocabulary from repetition and routines he isn’t familiar with.

HOW TO USE THIS BOOK

This book is centered around how a city wakes up. Take some paper and a pencil and write your own story about a farm waking up or a city going to bed. It will help your child sequence events of her normal routine and you can add new words to her repertoire by making suggestions of the different parts of a farm or city she didn’t think of.

Earlier I discussed the use of onomatopoeia in this book. Make up your own words for sounds you hear. In the house, outside, or wherever you are! If a faucet drips in the house write DRIP-Drop and have your child draw a picture. Or ask him how snow sounds under his feet. The sky’s the limit on this one. It helps him recall words he knows and associate the picture in his head with the sound further ingraining the vocabulary in his head.

Take a driving tour of some of the places in the book. You can play BINGO with the pictures on the page. Use this BINGO Sheet, find pictures to go along with the word or draw and let your child mark off what he sees as you drive through your hometown or city.

Click to open. car-bingo

WHAT TO READ NEXT

 

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Book Review: Thank You, Jackson by Niki and Jude Daly

Ages 3-5

Thank You Jackson. Niki and Jude Daly. Francis Lincoln Children’s Books. 2015.

(I am an Amazon affiliate member which means when you click on the pictures it takes you to Amazon where if you make a purchase I receive a small percentage. I do not get paid to review books.)

 

A farmer takes his donkey Jackson up a hill every day with a load of goods for the market. The donkey completes his job without complaint until one day Jackson won’t go up the hill. The farmer gets frustrated and no amount of prodding, pushing or yelling will get the donkey to move. Jackson loses his load and the farmer threatens to punish him and gives him to the count of ten to move and as he speaks the number ten his son, Goodwill appears. He stops his father from punishing Jackson and whispers something in the donkey’s ear. The donkey rises. The farmer asks what the boy said to get the donkey to move and the boy answers,, “Mama, says, that it’s the little things, like saying please and thank you, that make a big difference in the world.” Shamed for his attitude the farmer and boy carry the goods to market and allow Jackson to graze and rest. The story ends at the end of the day back home with the farmer thanking Jackson for all he does.

I love folktales. Not only because of the lessons they teach but they are perfect stories to teach narrative skills to emerging readers. They often hold a child’s interest with phrases that can be repeated which increases print motivation. Even though the story takes place in Africa it is a story with a universal theme that all children will relate to. This story provides unique language, using words such as market, stubborn, task, load and many more. Unique language is words we do not use in our every day conversations with our children. These unique words build vocabulary as the books are read and reread many times. There is also an emphasis on letter knowledge with the bold text numbers written out. The children can say the number out loud as you point to the text.

I highly recommend you add this book to your reading list and find other folktales and fairytales for your growing reader.

SKILLS BUILT:

  • Narrative Skills
  • Print Motivation
  • Vocabulary
  • Letter Knowledge

 

ENGAGE WITH THE STORY:

  • Talk about the book before you begin reading. Look at the pictures and name the objects you see on the page. Have your child point to pictures and identify what the object is. You can focus on colors or animals or shapes. This teaches your child how to interact and go deeper into the story than the words on the page.
  • When you come to a word your child may not be familiar with, for example task, stop and explain what the word means and give an example. It can take up to Word frequency to build vocabulary using and hearing a word before a child learns it. Find ways to incorporate these new words into your conversation today.
  • Before you turn the page, ask your child what she thinks might happen. Before you reveal what the boy says to the donkey, ask what the boy could say. When the farmer is frustrated ask your child what he thinks the farmer might do next to get the donkey to move. Reading comprehension is one of the most important skills for a child to learn and it starts early with helping your child engage in the text, anticipate and see how their guess matched up with the ending.

 

TAKE IT OFF THE PAGE:

  • Write a thank you note. Your child may not be able to write yet but sitting down and writing with you will show them how it’s done. You can have them dictate the note and you write but make sure to leave a space for them to practice their letters. At age 4 they will start forming letters especially those letters in their name. But no worries if they aren’t there yet, the simple act of using a pencil or colored pencil will help them develop the hand strength needed to develop writing.
  • Have a snack with the vegetables shown in the book. It may be an opportunity to go to the “market” just like the farmer, boy and donkey in the book. The store is a fabulous place to build vocabulary. Bring home the food and set up your own marketplace and finish with a snack.

 

Book Review: Bye-Bye Binky by Maria van Lieshout

  • Bye-Bye Binky by Maria van Lieshout. Chronicle Books, 2016.
  • Ages 1-3

(I am an Amazon Affiliate Associate. I choose the books to review and am not paid for my review. However if you click on any of the pictures in the post it will direct you to Amazon where if you make a purchase I do receive a percentage of the sale.)

 

A girl decides she is ready to give up her binky that has brought so much comfort in her life. She knows why it was important to her and how she will handle her emotions in the future without her safety-binky. This is a simple but fantastic book. The colors are amazing and will draw children immediately to the pages. The pages are printed on heavy paper making this a great book to involve your child in turning the pages and showing them how to hold and use books. (PRINT MOTIVATION and PRINT AWARENESS) I appreciate that the main character is a diverse face. It is a common milestone in children’s lives that mst children will relate to. In addition the author helps start a discussion between kids and their parents about how to handle strong emotions. This is a great book to build VOCABULARY, especially around emotions. The words are large and onomatopoeia is used which increases LETTER KNOWLEDGE.

Simple books are powerful in engaging young children in reading.

 

SKILLS BUILT:

  • PRINT AWARENESS
  • PRINT MOTIVATION
  • VOCABULARY
  • LETTER KNOWLEDGE

 

TALK ABOUT THE BOOK:

  • What do you think the story is about? Have your child flip through the pages and discover what might happen. Then say, “Let’s read the words and find out.”
  • What do you do when you are sad or angry or worried or afraid? Talk about blankets or toys that help them calm down. Then talk about how the girl in the book asked for hugs and snuggles when she felt any of those emotions.
  • Explain that a binky is another name for pacifier. Do you have nicknames for other common objects? This is a great way to build vocabulary.

 

TAKE IT OFF THE PAGE:

Emotion time. Help your child name emotions they feel. It will not only help them say what they feel when they are feeling a strong emotion but it also will help build their vocabulary as they read. Board books are a great jumping off point for talking about emotions. Board books often use real faces which children prefer. Choose a few books at your favorite library or bookstore. Talk about the emotion on the page and when your child might feel that emotion. You can go even further and talk about ways you comfort yourself when you are scared or angry, etc.

Label it. Labeling objects in the house where a child can see the labels is a great way to increase Letter Knowledge. They can’t read it yet but seeing the words with the object is a great step towards independent reading. Find objects around the house that your child loves and put a label on it. You could even identify them with happy faces or other emotions.

There are other great self care books in this series:

 

Book Review: Abracadabra, It’s Spring by Anne Sibley O’Brien

Abracadabra It’s Spring. By Anne Sibley O’Brien. Illustrated by Susan Gal

Ages: 2-5

(I am an Amazon Affiliate. I do not get paid to review books but if you click on the link and purchase a book I do receive a percentage. I am using the proceeds to start a literacy non-profit.)

Abracadabra It’s spring is simply written text about the surprises and magic of spring. The sturdy-fold-out pages and colorful and bright pictures will draw in young and older preschooler readers alike. Children can open the fold-outs to reveal the surprise inside. (PRINT MOTIVATION, PRINT AWARENESS) The magical incantations are fun ways to explore the sounds of words and the words are written in different colors highlighting the letters used. (PHONOLOGICAL AWARENESS, LETTER AWARENESS) The realistic and concrete story is perfect for young children. Have fun naming the animals and plants revealed on the pages. (VOCABULARY) Although the picture book doesn’t have a strong narrative the progression from wintery days to sunny spring will provide a natural story rhythm for the child.

SKILLS HIGHLIGHTED:

  • PRINT MOTIVATION
  • PRINT AWARENESS
  • PHONOLOGICAL AWARENESS
  • LETTER AWARENESS
  • VOCABULARY

QUESTIONS TO ASK:

  • Look at the cover of the book together with your child. Talk about what they see during the spring. How is it different from the other seasons of fall, winter and summer.
  • Question to ask during story: What happened to the snow on the ground? Where did it go?
  • Question to ask: What plant do you think the green chute will turn into? What do plants need to grow?
  • After the story: How many birds do you see in the book?
  • After the story: What other kinds of animals are there? Which is the biggest animal in the book? Which is the smallest? Which animal do you like the most?
  • After the story: What are the children doing? How do they celebrate spring do you think?

 

TAKE IT OFF THE PAGE:

  • Help birds make a nest! Cut up short pieces of string and yarn with your child and set out for birds. You can also gather small twigs, untreated pet hair etc. for birds to use.
  • Take a nature walk in a nearby park or woods and see how the season is changing. Notice what plants are around and identify them for your child. Look for animal habits and animals. What do the leaves look like now, and how will they change as the weather changes.
  • Write your own season book! Think about what the animals are doing, what plants are out and “usual suspects” suspects of the season.

OTHER GREAT BOOKS ABOUT SPRING:

Book Review: Chicken Lily by Lori Mortensen

Chicken Lily. By Lori Mortensen. Illustrated by Nina Victor Crittenden

Ages: 3 1/2-5

(I am an amazon affiliate. I am not paid for my review but if you purchase any book by clicking on the image from amazon I do make a percentage which goes to helping me start a literacy non-profit)

 

Chicken Lily is the story of a chicken who is always careful and cautious. She dislikes taking chances and misses out on Continue reading “Book Review: Chicken Lily by Lori Mortensen”

Book Review: Small Elephant’s Bathtime by Tatyana Feeney

Ages: Preschool 3-5, Toddler age 2

(I do not get paid to review books. The opinions I express in the post are mine. If you click the link it takes you to Amazon, where if you make a purchase I do receive a percentage of the sale.)

 

 

 

Small Elephant loves to play with water unless it is bathtime! His mother finds different ways to get Small Elephant into the tub but she only succeeds in making him more mad. When Small Elephant disappears his mother brings in reinforcements in the form of his Dad who finds a way to make bathtime funny.

Children will identify with the routine of bath and not always enjoying the process. It is a familiar situation for them which will engage the young reader in PRINT MOTIVATION. The pictures are simple drawings but drive the story helping a child to retell on their own building NARRATIVE SKILLS. The unique VOCABULARY and emphasis on feelings will introduce the child to new words and ideas. The simple text and colorful print will highlight LETTER KNOWLEDGE. This is a great book to demonstrate PRINT AWARENESS by using your finger to follow along with the text, point out the different parts of the book and the pages are sturdy to allow little fingers to turn the pages.

Interact with the Book:

  1. Why do you think Small Elephant likes to play with water but not take a bath?
  2. What happens when you have to do something you don’t want to do? How does it make you feel? What picture in the book looks like the face you make?
  3. What face would Small Elephant make while jumping in puddles? What face does he make when his mom asks him to take a bath? How does he look when he sees his Dad in the bathtub? How do you think he feels at the end of the story?

Take it further:

Go outside on a rainy day and jump in puddles just like Small Elephant. Put on some rainboots and a rain coat and explore the different splashes that the puddles make. Have your child guess which puddles will make the BIGGEST splashes. Shake tree branches and see what happens.

Put on some of your child’s favorite music and blow bubbles! Sing along and have them join in. Singing is a great way to build PHONOLOGICAL AWARENESS which helps your child learn to pull apart the sounds of words as they begin to read.

Go to the library or bookstore and find other books that explore feelings. Classics such as:

Book Review: Maya’s Blanket La Monta De Maya by Monica Brown

(I am not given books to review. All books are chosen by me for the early literacy skills they possess. If you click on the picture you will be redirected to Amazon where I do make a small commission if you make a purchase.)

Ages:4-6

A retelling of the classic Yiddish tale I had an overcoat, Maya’s Blanket tells the story of a much loved blanket that Maya’s grandmother made for her. She loves this blanket so much it begins to wear out so her grandmother transforms it into a dress, skirt, shawl, scarf, ribbon and bookmark. She loves the blanket in all its many forms and is sad one day when she can’t find her special bookmark anywhere. Maya finds a creative way to keep her much loved blanket close to her for the rest of her life.

This book is rich in VOCABULARY, NARRATIVE SKILLS, PRINT MOTIVATION, PRINT AWARENESS, LETTER KNOWLEDGE and PHONOLOGICAL AWARENESS. It is a great book to hit all the early literacy skills your preschool child has developed throughout their childhood. He will be introduced to layered language in the spanish and english text. There are many words to explore throughout the pages. The book also has vibrant and beautiful illustrations which will engage your child reading after reading. The way the story is laid out will highlight how readers follow a story and draw meaning from the pictures. The Spanish word is named first and then the child will derive meaning from the pictures and following text to understand what that word means and how it is used. Spanish words are in italics which draws attention to the letters. Lastly the mulilingual book is perfect for hearing letter sounds and putting together words from those sounds. The book teaches sequencing in story from the repetition of the transformation of the blanket to each of its next forms.

This is one of those rare books that engages children in every early literacy skill. I love it for its diversity and focus on universal themes of love between family members and those mementos every child keeps with herself to feel safe and secure.

What skills your child practices?

6prereadingskills

Questions to ask will reading the book:

  1. What is your favorite toy or blanket. What could you do to reuse it if it got old and frayed like Maya’s blanket?
  2. How do you think Maya felt when she lost the bookmark? What would you do if you lost your favorite toy, book or blanket?
  3. Can you tell me the story using the pictures?

Take it further:

  1. Create a storybook about your child’s favorite toy, book or blanket. Write down special memories, draw pictures and read the completed story together.
  2. Go to the library or favorite bookstore and find other retellings of the Yiddish tale or other books that are strong in narrative skills like Maya’s Blanket. Joesph had a little overcoat by Sims Taback is a Caldecott Honor book. The bag I’m taking to Grandma’s or any of Shirley Neitzel’s wonderful books.
  3. Make your own special blanket together. Go to a fabric store and pick out fabrics in your child’s favorite colors. Explore the store while there and point out the signs your see and the objects he may not be familiar with.

 

 

Book Review: Big Bear, little chair By Lizi Boyd

Ages 2-5 (only because it is in hardcover not board book. Infants will enjoy the colors and pictures but will have more difficulty holding the book and turning pages on their own.)

Big Bear Little Chair is a beautifully illustrated book of opposites. It repeats the words throughout the story and links them all together at the end.

This is a great book for teaching VOCABULARY the author names a lot of objects and compares them to each other. The pictures are simple and beautifully drawn. Young children will be drawn to the black, white and red colors in the pictures inspiring PRINT MOTIVATION. LETTER KNOWLEDGE is also highlighted in the simple text that is easy to follow along. There is a little bit of rhyming but it isn’t present throughout the book. This book is perfect for very young ages but it is only in hardcover as of this review. It is the perfect color, text, and pictures for very young infants. Help you child handle the book

Skills Highlighted:

BigBearskills

 

Enhance the reading:

1. Look at the front page of the book with the child. Ask what she sees and what she thinks the book might be about.

2. Flip through the pages with the child without reading the text. Point out the pictures and name the object.

3. Point out the different parts of the book. The cover. The end papers (the pages on the inside of the cover that come before the title page. Next show the title page and name the author and let the child know the author also drew the pictures and wrote the story in this book. Continue through to the end of the book. Point out the author information on the dust jacket.

 

Take it further:

Go around the house and find objects of different sizes. Have the child compare the toys or household items and select which is bigger and which is smaller. Order them by size on the floor. You could also find similar items to the book.

Go for a walk and point out trees, light poles, cars, etc. Talk about the size of each. Play I spy with size. I spy with my little eye something taller than a bush but smaller than the light pole. Give clues and help the child guess what you are seeing.

Book Review: Little Bird’s Bad Word by Jacob Grant

Ages 3-5

Little Bird is out with his father flying home with dinner when his father loses the worm and he shouts out a bad word. Little Bird wants to be a big bird so he explores using his new word. He thought his friends would love it but they keep running and hiding from him. After he uses it with turtle he realizes new words aren’t always nice words. Little Bird then uses a word he knows to apologize to all his friends. Continue reading “Book Review: Little Bird’s Bad Word by Jacob Grant”