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!!

Book Review: Finding Wild by Megan Wagner Lloyd

Toddler and Preschool

There are many things I look for when I choose a book to read to my children. I look for the words used. Strong pictures that not only compliment the text but also tell the story. I look for how the text demonstrates to the child how words flow in a book. I look for a strong narrative that a child can hear in the reading and retell.

Finding Wild is one of those great finds that encompasses all the literacy skills librarians and teachers and parents look for in a book. It takes a concept: Wild and shows all the facets of it. Why we need it. Why we respect it. Why it becomes a part of us.

Wild creeps and crawls and slithers.

It leaps and pounces and shows its teeth.

There are metaphors and alliteration that makes the reading fun. Your child will learn many new words hearing this story.

Wild is full of smells-fresh mint, ancient cave, sun-baked desert, sharp pine, salt sea.

Every scent begging you to drink it in.

The pictures are simple but descriptive of the text. It shows a girl and a boy standing on a sidewalk at the edge of a woods. Then follows them as they explore the many types of wild there are in the world. It is a story that begs for families to step out of their houses and explore their own wild surrounding them. It is a reminder that our world isn’t supposed to be neat and organized.

Sometimes wild is buried too deep, and it seems like the whole world is clean and paved, ordered and tidy.

Pick up this book, read it and then set out on an adventure and remind yourself there is a whole world out there waiting to be explored right on your doorstep.

Happy Reading!

 

What other books encourage your child to explore the world around them?

 

(I am an Amazon affiliate, which means when you click on a picture you are redirected to Amazon. If you make a purchase I receive a percentage of the sale. I am not paid to review books. My opinions are mine and mine alone.)

 

Other books that explore the world:

Book Review: Waiting for High Tide by Nikki McClure

Waiting for High Tide. Nikki McClure, Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2016.

Ages 4-7

(I do not get paid to review books. I chose this book off the shelves of my local library. I am an Amazon Affiliate Associate. Any book you purchase from clicking the link I do receive a small percentage.)

 

Waiting for High Tide is about a family working together to build a raft. The pictures are stunning, the author hand-cut the paper with an exacto knife. They are mainly black and white but have well placed pops of color. This is a book that adults and children will be drawn to from the gorgeous pictures. (PRINT MOTIVATION)

The text is as intricate as the illustrations. The VOCABULARY is very sophisticated for a children’s book. The challenge of this book is the long pages. What I appreciate is the author has set in bold and uppercase print the main points of the story. So this book can be used with a younger reader and will grow with the child.

The emphasis on exploring the world and working together and spending time with family will encourage readers to pick up this book again and again. It is a great example of how authors can reach a wide audience through the structure and design of the book. I picked it up because of its intricate illustrations, I have a soft spot for paper art. My children enjoyed this book for the story of building a raft together and it intrigued my 11 yo, 8 yo and 5 yo.

This book is strong in reading comprehension. There will be lots of questions to ask from each page, either through the pictures or the text. (NARRATIVE SKILLS)

This book intimidates at first but there are lots of ways to use the book that your children will enjoy.

SKILLS BUILT:

  • VOCABULARY
  • PRINT MOTIVATION
  • NARRATIVE SKILLS

 

TALK ABOUT THE BOOK:

  • Read the book through and have your child retell the story. This will help build up their narrative skills.
  • Pick one of the illustrations and help your child write a story or do research on what the see on the page.
  • Ask your child how she thinks the family will use the raft in the summers to come. Make up a different ending to the story.

TAKE IT OFF THE PAGE:

  • Look at the end pages. The pages glued to the cover of the book are a vocabulary lesson in and of themselves. It shows how the raft is built and on the back of the book are animals and sea life the family encounters during the story. This can be a vocabulary addition as well as a place to talk about the parts of a book. The title page, the end pages and how books are put together. There are great YouTube videos on how books are made. Watch one together.
  • We don’t all live by an ocean or lake or pond but we all have an ecological system nearby. Find a nearby nature center and explore what animals and plants are found in your community.
  • Make your own raft! Okay, so not as big as the author’s but other materials work with your child to build a replica. Here is a great link from Discovery Education to get you started.

OTHER BOOKS WITH WOOD OR HAND CUT ILLUSTRATIONS: