Book Review: When’s My Birthday by Julie Fogliano

Written by Julie Fogliano and Illustrated by Christian Robinson

Roaring Books Press: New York, 2017

Good for any age but particularly Ages 18 months to 3.

What the Book is About

Every child can’t wait until their birthday and this book shares the excitement and joy of waiting for a day that never seems to arrive.

What I Like About the Book

The illustrations have the whimsy of childhood and use mixed media for a fresh approach. The illustrator, Christian Robinson is a Caldecott and Coretta Scott King Honor artist. You may have seen his other collaborations with Mac Bennett, Cynthia Rylant, Adam Rex, Kelly DiPuccio, Margaret Wise Brown and so many others. His illustrations engage the youngest readers through their simplicity and childlike whimsy. I adore the books he illustrates and so excited to see another great writing partnership in this book.

The book, while simple in text, carries a lot of vocabulary to enrich your child’s speech throughout the pages. The pictures will spark conversation and help your reader learn new words.

A lot of opportunities to practice counting appear throughout the book. Who doesn’t love to count candles! And food! And snowflakes. Build math literacy while having fun.

Books that have repeating phrases are great books to use to highlight print awareness. Anytime you get to the refrain, follow along with your finger and have your child say the phrase. While they are not yet reading the words, this connects the words on the page to the words they hear you reading. In addition the text appears in different ways and offers different ways to point out how books are read.

The text reminds me of a child’s excited wonder. All kids are excited about birthdays and the cadence of the story fits our kids natural speech patterns making this a perfect read.

The author obviously has experience with young children because it hit exactly how my kids talk about their birthdays as if they are always just around the corner. Birthdays are a great way to talk about how time passes and to look at calendars. Not only will it build math skills it also is a great way to beef up narrative descriptions and reading comprehension.

when’s my birthday, explores the excitement and wonder of childhood in an accessible and familiar way to our young readers. The illustrations by award winning Christian Robinson and the lyrical text of Julie Fogliano work together to create an engaging read that your child will come to over and over again.

Take It Further

The learning doesn’t have to end with the closing of the book. Try these activities at home to continue the learning and fun of the book.

calendar

Develop a home calendar!

The passage of time is difficult for our kids to understand. This post has a lot of great ideas to adapt for your home to help your child learn to become familiar with calendars. The one I like in particular is a list of the days of the week and then pictures for the different activities that will happen during the week. You could do this in a variety of ways: morning routine, bedtime routine, lunch/naptime. It will not only help your kids understand what will be happening during the day, but it will help them begin to connect to calendars. Don’t worry if they don’t seem to get the concept of today, yesterday and tomorrow, all you need to do is provide the access and as they age the understanding will develop.

balloons

Throw a birthday party for a favorite stuffed animal!

It may be months until your child’s birthday, so recreate the fun of a party for a favorite toy or animal. Gather art supplies and make banners and pictures to decorate the room, building scissors skills and strengthening writing skills. Bake cupcakes, cookies or a cake. The recipe is a good way to demonstrate print awareness by following along with your finger as you read the recipe and the measurements, not only show numbers, but exhibit measuring skills. Young kids love to pour, so give them an opportunity to help dump in the ingredients. Set a table and have fun!

kid writing

Practice writing!

Make lists! Of guests, of food for the party, of party games or more. Have your child dictate and write down what they say. This is a great brainstorming activity so there are no wrong answers. It is a way to introduce them to sequencing by adding numbers to each item listed. Also it connects the words they say to the written words. You can continue by creating your own invitations. If your child is older preschool, let them create the invitations. Spelling will be creative but it is a great way to encourage writing.

What to read next

(I am an Amazon Affiliate. I am not paid to suggest or review books, but if you click on a link it takes you to facebook and if you make any purchases I receive a portion of the sale.)

Gerald and Piggie never disappoint! This book will provide a fun conversation starter with your child about how hard it is to wait.

 

 

Kids really have no concept of time. This will help them explore the feelings they have about excitement and waiting.

 

 

A different way to talk about daily routines through the sounds we hear.

 

 

What books do you enjoy with your child about birthdays, routines, or waiting? Share in comments.

 

 

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

 

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

Book Review: A Wonderful Day by Michael Samulak

  • A Wonderful Day. By Michael Samulak. Tate Publishing: Mustang, OK, 2015.
  • Ages: Early Reader.Toddler. Preschool

An engaging early reader that follows a child through the excitement of spending a day together with a parent at the zoo.

WHAT I LOVE ABOUT THIS BOOK

I love books that can be used for all different age levels. The book is advertised as an early reader but this book can be read with toddlers and preschoolers as well. My youngest daughter is a new reader and she enjoyed helping read the story as well as listening.

The author’s educational background shines through the text of the book. He demonstrates through lyrical prose how a parent engages with the child while reading. The text asks questions and prompts the child to make guesses about what will happen next. This will help building reading comprehension and strengthen narrative skills. Narrative skills are important because it helps children understand and process what they read and hear. An important step in building future readers.

The child can also help sequence the story events after a few readings which contributes to strong reading comprehension. One of the most important skills our children will need as they go through school.

As we have discussed before Print Motivation develops when  child sees herself in the book she reads. Books that handle normal, everyday routines or special relationships not only help our readers see themselves on the pages but motivate them to pick up books to read and hear. There are many ways a reader connects with a book and kids and parents alike will relate to the story of parent and child spending a special day together.

Vocabulary is also a strength of this book. There are animals to label and fun words like fuzzy, shipwreck, explore and many more. Books help children hear words we don’t use in everyday conversation with them. The more times you read this story the more sophisticated his vocabulary will become.

The book also uses similes and alliteration. Literary devices kids won’t understand yet, but hearing them used in stories gives them a background he can pull from when he starts writing his own stories.

The best part of this book is it is gender neutral and diverse. All children, regardless of gender, race or ethnicity will be able to see themselves on the pages of this book. I appreciate the realistic drawings that are simple but enhance the story.

HOW TO USE THIS BOOK

I love the opening to the book because it starts conversation between you and your child right away. After reading the book, if it is morning, talk about what will happen during the day. Or if read before bedtime, talk about what happened during the day and what might happen the next day. Not only does this help a child feel more secure with the family routine, it provides a space to talk with your child in a positive and affirming way. Without knowing it, she is learning about time and how our days have a beginning and middle and end, just like the stories she reads. You can get adventurous and have your child tell you a story of the day while you write it down, highlighting not only letter awareness but narration.

Visit a zoo or if no zoo is nearby go to a local library and find books on animals you might find at the zoo. Learn about what they eat and where they sleep and what they do all day. Reenact the story A Wonderful Day either through creative play or drawing a map of the zoo you visit, complete with pictures, to the animals in the book. Writing and drawing are great activities to increase hand strength.

Find pictures online of the different animals, or draw your own, and label each picture. Cut them out and paste on squares of paper. Flip them around and play a memory game. Seeing the word with the picture helps not only cement the new words they learn, but brings awareness to the letters that make up each word.

Another fun activity is to gather the different animal toys your child has and place them in a bag. Have the child feel the shape of the animal while in the bag and have her guess what the animal is. Picturing an object the child can’t see is great for imagination and putting the concrete into the abstract.

What to read next

Check out the author’s other book, which I will review this week:

Other great books that talk about parent child relationships:

What books do you share with your child help you feel closer? Share in comments.

HAPPY READING!