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: Billions of Bricks by Kurt Cyrus

billions-of-bricks

Billions of Bricks: A counting book about bricks. Kurt Cyrus. Henry Holt, New York, 2016.

WHAT I LOVE ABOUT THIS BOOK

Counting books are important aspect in building future readers. Literacy isn’t only about reading. A good foundation of counting and numbers from a young age helps each child get a strong start in school. What better way to prepare kids for future success in math than by reading together!

Billions of Bricks shows the different ways we count. We can count by twos, fives, tens, twenties and more. In this book, the author demonstrates counting through a construction site and the number of bricks it takes to build the structure and the end result of all those billions of bricks.

There is a lot of unique vocabulary in this book. (Arches, Pillars, Cellars) It also has a strong, fun rhyming text along with alliteration (Bricks and blocks abound. Build beneath the ground) Both of these techniques help build phonological awareness, which children need to develop before they begin to sound out words on their own. This isn’t a book that will build a strong narrative skill but children can develop reading comprehension by following the pictures on the page and describing what happens from start to end.

The pictures will help children identify shapes like cylinders, rectangles, squares and more. A good example of how pictures don’t just move a story along, they also are a helpful learning tool all on their own.

Kids at this age love to build, so it will tickle their natural curiosity on how buildings are put together and what keeps them from falling!

HOW TO USE THIS BOOK

Bricks might be hard to find, so go on a walk and find rocks. As you collect them, count them one by one. When you arrive home, you can show your child the different ways of counting. They don’t know it but they are learning to do basic addition and multiplication as they do this.

Use the rocks and separate into texture, shape, color. Organizing is a great way to build reading comprehension without opening a book. Organizing makes a child look at how to describe and understand the object. If you have a kitchen scale, weigh the rocks and note the numbers on the page next to each item. Then you can organize rocks from biggest to smallest. Heaviest to lightest. Sequencing is a great way to also build comprehension skills.

Go on a driving or walking tour and find different types of stone or building materials that make up buildings. Find houses, stores, sheds and more and highlight the construction portion of the book. It builds vocabulary and will interest your child in engineering.

There are so many ways to explore this book? Post your suggestions in the comments below?

WHAT TO READ NEXT

 

HAPPY READING!