Book Review: Tilly and Tank by Jay Fleck

I received access to an ARC of this picture book through Netgalley. I was not paid for my review.

 

 

 

Tilly and Tank by Jay Fleck celebrates friendship in the most unlikely pairs. This book is available on January 9, 2018 but can be preordered on Amazon.

(I am an Amazon Affiliate. I am not paid to review books, but if you click on links and make a purchase from Amazon I receive a portion of the sale.)

What I Like About This Book

A strong vocabulary is a precursor to reading. Parents who choose books with unique words (words that you don’t use in everyday conversation) help strengthen this skill so when the child begins to independently read she has a huge background of words to pull from. Tilly and Tank uses 23 words that you most likely don’t use when you talk with your child. Words like curious, detected, barrel, turret, puzzled and so much more. We call these million dollar words. Use them throughout the day to help reinforce the new word. It can take 10-15 times of word use for the new word to stick. Pick a few new words after the reading and find various ways to enrich your child’s vocabulary.

The simple, bright illustrations are easy to follow and highlight print awareness (knowing the parts of books and how to follow along the pages.) The text moves around with the pictures, so get your finger ready and follow the word trail. Not only does it highlight the print, it will also help your child connect the sounds they hear with the words on the page.

Simple narratives help pre-literate children learn to exercise their storytelling muscles. The simpler the story at a young age, the easier it is for the child to recall and retell after a few readings. Not only that, but as a parent guide your child with questions about the story that aren’t in the text. Ask what you think Tilly might be feeling when she sees the stranger from far away? Why do you think Tank responded the way he did (Good way to use a new word and help reading comprehension) In addition there are a lot of different emotions at work in the story and highlighting them and then talking about times your child might have felt the same way not only builds narrative skills, but helps the child better connect to the story and produce a positive reading experience.

Tilly and Tank isn’t just a refreshing story about friendship, it also hits many early literacy skills which will build strong future readers!

How To Use This Book

Make cards with some of the new words your child learned. Have a conversation with your child where you intentionally use the words and as you say them, put the card in front of your child to connect the sounds with the words.

Have your child retell the story and write it down in one line sentences and draw a picture to go along with the sentence. Cut the pictures and sentences from each other and practice reordering the story using the words and pictures.

Play a matching game! Take pictures of your child making different emotion faces. Happy, Sad, Angry, Excited etc. Print them out in duplicate and play a matching game.

Other Books to Read

Tilly and Tank not only explores relationships, but how to handle new situations or times when we feel uncertain about the people we meet. These books are great to follow up to the themes of Tilly and Tank.

What books do you read to help your child understand emotions? Post in comments to share suggestions.

 

Happy Reading

Book Review: Bear’s Winter Party by Deborah Hodge

Bear’s Winter Party by Deborah Hodge. Illustrated by Lisa Cinar. Groundwork Books, 2016.

Preschool Readers

WHAT I LOVE ABOUT THIS BOOK

Bear wants to be friends with the other animals in the forest but everytime he comes near they hide. Bear discovers a way to make new friends and show the forest animals he isn’t as scary as he looks.

Bear’s Winter Party is rich in vocabulary. The opening page brings text filled with unique words to enrich your child’s exploding vocabulary.

Bear lived in a forest on the side of a mountain. He felt at home among the trees. He nibbled on sweet wild berries. He sipped cool water from the stream. He breathed in the fresh mountain air.

The author also does a great job of creating word pictures instead of telling the reader how the animals feel.

Wherever he went, Bear heard the other animals talking about him.

“He’s so big!” said Squirrel.

“His claws are long,” said Hare.

“His teeth are sharp,” said Deer.

“His voice makes a rumbling sound,” Said Chickadee.

The author builds through dialog how the animals feel when they encounter the bear. Instead of telling the reader the animals are afraid of bear, she shows through how the talk to each other and how they act around bear. It provides the perfect opportunity to ask questions as you read and create conversation around the story.

The author also includes literary devices such as alliteration (the same starting consonant sound) and assonance (the same ending sounds) to provide a cadence driven text. This type of writing helps young ones hear the sounds that make up words, which helps them learn to decode before they even begin to read.

Before long, the whole group was dancing. Round and round the den they went, swinging and swaying, whirling and twirling, bobbing and bouncing.

And my favorite part is the recipe at the end of the book. Recipes are a great way to build math skills like fractions, number recognition and unique vocabulary. It is a hands on way of learning how to divide and count. It not only helps the story become concrete for your child but it continues learning beyond the page.

Along with all the pre-literacy skills your child will develop with repeated readings of this story, research shows that fiction helps readers gain empathy through others. Most children can relate to being scared of meeting new people, being in new situations, or being scared to make friends. Listening and talking about how Bear solves his problems will help your child be a more compassionate and empathetic friend.

bears-winter-party-text

HOW TO USE THIS BOOK

One of the strengths of this book is the conversation created around feelings. After reading the book a few times go back and tell the story by how Bear feels. How he starts out feeling, what he does with those feelings and how he feels at the end of the book. You can also do the same with the forest animals. To continue dialoguing about feelings, draw faces with your child and label underneath each picture how the person feels.

Talk about the pictures on each page. The watercolors are vibrant and full of detail. Point to an object on the page and have your child tell you what she sees. This builds vocabulary.

Because this story takes place in a forest, the end pages are filled with pictures of different types of leaves. Go on a nature walk and see if you can find similar items in your yard or neighborhood. Take leaves home with you and take crayons or pencils and do rubbings of the leaves or trace the shapes.

Make the recipe at the end of the book! Cooking with your children is a great way to build confidence, but also provides an opportunity to point to text on the page and read it to them. They will see how you move across the page and highlight print awareness.

WHAT TO READ NEXT

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

 

What are your favorite books about bears? Help others discover new books in the comments below.

HAPPY READING!