Book Review: Sleep Tight Farm by Eugenie Doyle

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Sleep Tight Farm: a farm prepares for winter. By Eugenie Doyle. Illustrated by Becca Stadtlander. Chronicle Books. San Francisco, 2016.

WHAT I LOVE ABOUT THIS BOOK

Sleep Tight Farm follows a family as they prepare their farm for winter. It is a great way to show children the work it takes to put food on the shelves at the store and what happens in the winter to the fields, animals and machinery that keeps us fed and healthy.

There is so much unique vocabulary in this book. From the different types of vegetables, to the animals and the farm equipment. Each page offers new discoveries. I even had to look up some of the vegetables myself!

The pictures are detailed providing a lot of conversation to build reading comprehension. It is a great book for children to retell the story after he has heard it a few times. Another positive of this book is it can be read to younger children with short attention spans. Each page set ends with a one line summary of what happened on the page. Or for children who have heard the story many times it provides a place where he can interact with the story. Understanding the narrative of a story will help future readers write their own and understand better the stories he reads.

It also provides a jumping off point to talk about changing seasons. What we see and do in the fall. What clothes we wear, what traditions we have, what the trees or sky looks like. It goes beyond naming the months of the year and seasons and helps your child understand how the world changes but stays the same.

HOW TO USE THIS BOOK

This is a great book to come back to again and again and again. After reading the book through, take a few pages and discuss what is happening in the pictures. What is each of the people doing? What colors does your child see? What objects are new to your child? If your kids live in the city like mine do, a farm is a whole new world to explore.

There are many sensory experiences in Sleep Tight Farm. Make a list of each of the senses and go through the pictures on each of the pages and put it in touch, taste, smell, hear, see. This not only helps your child relate to her own experiences of these senses, but labeling and writing will encourage Print Awareness.

If possible, find a working farm to visit. Farms provide a lot of opportunities for learning. If you don’t have any farms nearby, go to the library and find books or movies about farms. This is a great use of Youtube and screen time.

Go to the store and find some of the new vegetables from the book. Discovering new foods will not only help your child become an adventurous eater, kids are concrete learners and if they can touch and feel what the vegetable is it will help them remember it better. Also, find a recipe using one of the new foods and make it to help build math literacy.

This book also encourages the discussion of where our food comes from. Try this short video describing how food gets from the field to our table.

 

WHAT TO READ NEXT

 

What is your favorite book about seasons or preparing for change of seasons? Comment at the end of the post and share ideas!

 

HAPPY READING!

Book Review: My First Touch and Feel Seasons by Xavier Deneux

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  • Board Book
  • Ages: 0-3
  • My First Touch and Feel Seasons, Deneux. Twirl/Tourbillon, 2016.

WHAT I LOVE ABOUT THIS BOOK

  • Bright Colors
  • Simple Illustrations
  • Unique and Rich Vocabulary
  • Tactile Learning
  • Sparks Conversation
  • Builds Reading Comprehension

Infants and toddlers explore the world through touch. They love to put toys, books and anything they find on the ground into their mouths. It is how they figure out what objects are and how the world works. This is the perfect age to explore reading with touch and feel books. My First Touch and Feel Seasons book has bright, simple illustrations and labels all the pictures on the page. It is a great book for building vocabulary, not only through the unique words present, but also through the textures on the page. It is proof that simple books can have big impacts on our children. Babies and toddlers will love the simplicity of the book. It is perfect for a waiting room or in the car. Board books make it is for little fingers to hold and turn pages and with the sturdy construction it can double as a teething ring.

It is proof that simple books can have big impacts on our children

This book will build your child’s words about seasons, but also much much more. You can talk about the textures on the page. How does water feel? Is sand scratchy or smooth? Is the sun hot or cold? For infants, of course they won’t answer! But the back and forth, ask a question and pause for an answer, helps them understand how conversations work. You might even find that your baby will babble back an answer. As language develops they will be able to answer simple questions with simple answers. But by starting the habit at birth will help build towards better reading comprehension in the future.

There are also a lot of colors to explore on the page, patterns and shapes. And of course each season has its animals and clothing and foods. This is a great book in building readers but will also keep young learners engaged and participating.

HOW TO USE THIS BOOK:

It can be uncomfortable to read a book that doesn’t have a story. At this age, infants and toddlers are interested in anything you show them. As soon as they are done he will let you know by turning his head, if he is a baby, or finding his favorite toy, if he is a toddler. Point out what you see and don’t worry if the child wants to skip pages. Let them lead and relax.

This book can be read lots of different ways. Focus on textures with one reading or the objects on the page in another. You can also do a read through of just colors. Books don’t always have to be read the same way.

Make up a story about what happens during each of the seasons. Where is the child and what is he doing? What do you think will happen next. Older kids can help you with the story and, for infants, they just want to hear the sound of your voice.

Infants and Toddlers love to explore, so take them out of the house and explore whatever season you are in. Take a walk or play in a yard or go to the park. No matter where you end up talk about what you see. Point out the leaves, or if there are no leaves, say why. Talk about the animals or insects, the temperature, whether it is windy or hot or cold or whatever else you see and feel around you. Mention the Touch and Feel book and relate your experiences outside with what you read inside.

WHAT TO READ NEXT

 

Here are just a few of the many books in Deneux’s My first touch and feel series.

(I am an Amazon affiliate. Clicking on the picture will take you to Amazon where if you make any purchases I will receive a portion of the sale.)

 

What are your favorite touch and feel books? Comment on the post and share ideas!

 

Happy Reading!

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: