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: I Am A Story By Dan Yaccarino

  • I am a story. Dan Yaccarino. Harper: New York, 2016.
  • Toddler and Preschool

 

 

 

A short simple story of how books and stories came to be. The different iterations of story and the power the written and oral word holds over children and adults alike today.

WHAT I LIKE ABOUT THIS BOOK

This is a great narrative that explains about all the different ways a story can be told. It is a great way to introduce kids to different types of books and different ways of showing a story. The text itself lends to great sequencing for children. Stories started around campfires, then were drawn on walls, then carved and written and on and on. A perfect history on story for our youngest readers. It celebrates the diversity of storytelling in all different cultures and the many ways we tell tales of people in the world.

The pictures are bright and engaging. I have always appreciated Yaccarino’s style of illustration. Kids are naturally drawn to his beautiful pictures. They are classic and new all at the same time.

Vocabulary will be strengthened in each reading of this book. There are so many new words: Papyrus, woodblocks, ink, clay, illuminate. And so many more. The words are all focused around the central theme of books and stories which will be a great starting point for further conversations and a deeper understanding of books.

This is also a great book to use to start introducing toddlers to picture books. While you will still mainly use board books, the text is simple and the story is quick enough to keep even the youngest reader engaged.

I love how the story starts around the campfire and adds technological advances before it comes back to the simple story around a campfire. It is a great way to demonstrate to children how stories grow but return back to the beginning. Always.

HOW TO USE THIS BOOK

This story has three parts to it: How stories are told. How stories are used. How stories make us feel. Pick one of these areas and create a story. Tell stories around the fireplace or campfire and teach your kids about oral traditions. Maybe a family story that happened before them. Or roll out play dough and take a toothpick to “carve” a story into “clay tablets.” If you focus on how stories are used, choose a movie or audio book or even play and view a story being reenacted. Or choose a book off the bookshelf and talk about how you felt while you read.

As a kid, I loved Reading Rainbow. In recent years, a kickstarter was created to bring back this much loved series. There is a channel on Youtube where you can see new episodes of this classic series. The video I shared below is called, I am Book. It is a compilation of poems by well known authors about books! It is a great way to encourage discussion of Print Awareness in a unique and fun way.

Find time to create your own stories with your child. It builds a natural time in the day to be together without the pressures and demands of schedule. It provides a space for you and your child to be together and create.

WHAT TO READ NEXT

What is the most interesting way you have heard a story? Comment below to share ideas!

HAPPY READING!

Book Review: All Shook Up! By Alain Crozon

  • All Shook Up! By Alain Crozon. Chronicle Books: San Francisco, 2015.
  • Board Book. Toddler and Early Preschool

Help your child learn body parts, opposites and numbers in this fun interactive book.

WHAT I LOVE ABOUT THIS BOOK

Interactive books are perfect for young listeners. It keeps him engaged while he learns during reading time. The child can move the animals on the page reinforcing the new words he hears. The pages are made of firm cardboard. Sturdy enough to have little fingers turning the page. This helps encourage Print Awareness. Print Awareness is understanding the parts of books and how one reads a story and turns through pages.

The book will teach your child opposites, numbers and new vocabulary. It has great words like Flutter, Wag, Wiggle, Strut and many more. As your child moves the animals on the page she will also learn the differences between front and back. Left and Right. Open and Shut. There is also simple counting from 1-4 which is a great way to use math in reading to help increase math literacy. The text has simple rhymes that will help her hear the different sounds that make up words.

It also has great onomatopoeia words like Huff! Puff! Whack. Smack. Crack! Remember onomatopoeia are fun ways to put names to sounds. The book also uses a literary device called polysyndeton. Polysyndeton is when you use punctuation in between words to give them more attention. For example the author uses this technique on page seven.

Be careful not to

Whack. Smack. Crack!

Notice how it draws attention to the rhyming text. It also makes it fun to read for the adults. It may be years before he will use this devise in his own writing but learning now that it is a way to express himself will reinforce the concepts he learns later in life.

The pictures are cartoonish, with minimal colors and the actions in the words directly relate to how the she will interact with the animals on the page.

I love simple books that contain so many rich opportunities for learning. I have even used these board books for my early readers.

HOW TO USE THIS BOOK

After reading through the book a few times, reinforce the new vocabulary learned by having your child act out the different movements the animals demonstrate. Have her flutter and wag her arms. See if she remembers what the movements are and help if needed.

Learn more about the animals on the page. Go to the library and see where rabbits live and what they eat. Learn the differences between donkeys and horses. Books are a great jumping off point for learning how to research topics your child is interested in.

Practice opposites. In your house practice the difference between open and closed by seeing what doors are open and which are closed. Open up the refrigerator and talk about what is at the front of the shelves and what is in the back. Walk up stairs and walk back down or toss a ball into the air and call out up when it is highest and down when it hits the ground.

Also practice counting by doing simple drawings of the animals on the page. For example draw one butterfly, then two, then three and so on. Cut out the pictures and practice putting them in order with your child. You can even print out doubles and play a memory game.

I am sure you are a better artist than I am, but here is an example:

scan-3

WHAT TO READ NEXT

 

What are your favorite lift the flap or interactive books? Share in the comments section.

 

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!

 

 

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: If You Ever Want to Bring a Piano to the Beach, Don’t! by Elise Parsley

If You Ever Want to Bring a Piano to the Beach, DON’T! By Elise Parsley. Hachette Book Group, Inc. 2016.

Ages: 2-5

(I am an Amazon Affiliate. If you click on the image you will be redirected to Amazon, where if you make a purchase, I receive a portion of the sale. I do not get paid to review particular books. The view are my own.)

Kids from toddler to preschool will love this book. It is reminiscent of Numeroff’s If You Give a Mouse a Cookie. A little girl heads to the beach with her piano against the advice of her mother. As she drags the large instrument down the street her mother’s warning comes true and she realizes a boat or a Frisbee or a shovel are better companions at the beach.

What I like about this book.

It is funny. Kids will giggle and laugh over how silly the girl is taking a piano to the beach. (PRINT MOTIVATION) It has a strong narrative with repetition which helps build reading comprehension (NARRATIVE SKILLS) How the words are designed and placed on the page will highlight how books are read and how we follow the words on a page. (PRINT AWARENESS) I love the author’s use of language by using words like draggy, rested, bob. (VOCABULARY) Finally the pictures fit the flow of the story so well that your child will easily be able to tell the story from the pictures alone (NARRATIVE SKILLS)

HOW TO INTERACT WITH THE BOOK:

So much of building future readers is teaching and modeling to our children how to engage with the book. After you read the book, come up with a list of things you take to the beach. Then make another list of silly items you could take. This is a great way to build vocabulary as you share words you don’t normally use during the day in conversation with your child.

Talk about different instruments. Go online or find books at the library and explore instruments and their sounds. Sample music and if you have free concerts where you live take advantage of them and go to a concert. Talk about what you see there.

Make up your own silly beach tale using the list you made. Use the book as a template and help build reading comprehension and narrative skills through this story writing exercise.

Books you might also enjoy:

 


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: