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: 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!