To read more about how we read aloud, you can visit this blog post.
By coincidence, Marcus and Sophia choose two books about seeds this week. Each of these books dealt not only with growing seeds, but also discussed some character qualities and life lessons.
Carrot Seed by Ruth Krauss, **
This classic books was first published in 1945, yet it remains a stable among children even today. The book was written by Ruth Krauss and illustrated by her husband Crockett Johnson (creator of Harold and the Purple Crayon). As you can tell, the little boy in The Carrot Seed, bares a striking resemblance to Harold. In the story, a little boy places a carrot seed in the ground. Everyone around him keeps telling him that "it won't come up." And at first, it seems that they are right. After planting the seed nothing happens for a very long time. Yet the little boy waits patiently and continues to tend to his seed despite the naysayers. At the end of the story, a HUGE carrot springs forth from the tiny little seed. The story teaches the qualities of patience and believing in yourself. Johnsons's simple 2D illustrations really add emphasis to the story. Everything is made illustrated in very simple shades of browns and yellows. That is until the carrot grows. Then suddenly, there are huge patches of green on the page that really grab your attention and emphasize the miracle of growth.
Tittch by Pat Hutchins, *
This book was first published in 1971, and is the tale of how big things can come in small packages. The main character Titch is the youngest sibling in his family. His older brother and sister have fancy kites, yet Titch just has a pinwheel. His older brother and sister have big bikes, yet Titch just has a tricycle. HIs older brother and sister get to use a big saw and hammer, yet Titch just gets to hold the nail. However, at the end of the story, we find out that even small people can do big things! Titch's older brother has a spade. Titch's older sister has a flowerpot. But Titch has the tiny seed.
"And Titch's seed grew...and grew...and grew." This story reminds children that even though they may be small, they can still do big things and their role is important. I think this would also be an excellent story to gift to the youngest sibling in a family.
By coincidence, we also read some books that delt with other countries and cultures. Marcus and Sophia still don't understand the concept of a map and relative distance. So, Spain might as well be Cleveland as far as they are concerned. In the future I would like to get a large world map to display on our wall so that we can start labeling where we live in relation to where the stories take place.
Madeline byLudwig Bemelmans, *
Madeline is a very famous book that was first published in 1939. Sophia especially enjoys this book because she has a little Madeline doll that is complete with an appendectomy scar and everything! I am off the opinion that this book should be a part of every child's home library. There are so many learning opportunities presented in this book. You can talk about rhyming. (The entire book is written in a pleasant, rhythmic, verse that rhymes.) You can discuss math: multiplication, division, subtraction, and counting by twos. (The school girls in the book line up in two rows in everything they do. ) You can also discuss some cultural and geographical information as many of the famous landmarks in France are included in the illustrations background.
Tikki Tikki Tembo, retold by Arlene Mosel
This book is a repeat from last week. Marcus loves this story and gets so excited as I repeat the main characters VERY long name over and over again. This story is told under the guise of being an ancient Chinese folk tale. However, the story is much more similar to the Japanese folktale Jugemu. Regardless of its original origins, the story makes a delightful read aloud.
The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf, *
This book was first published in 1936 and it was illustrated by Robert Lawson. Robert Lawson is not just a VERY talented illustrator, he is also a VERY talented author. He is still the only person to win both the prestigious Newbery and Caldecott Medals. If you haven't read it, I highly recomend you read his book Rabbit Hill. I thoroughly enjoyed his writing style. He wrote in a way where I could almost hear the characters voices in my head.
Ferdinand is also beautifully illustrated. It deals with the infamous bull fights of Spain. This was the children's first introduction to bull fighting. I have to admit that I cringed a little when reading about the bull fights. I am an animal lover, so I shudder when I think about what goes on in a bull fight. They described this process a bit in the book--and that did bother me. However, the children were not phased by it at all. Nonetheless, the underlying message of the book is Ferdinand's nonviolent tranquility. That message comes out loud and clear. It is a very zen-like story that I enjoyed very much.
Is Your Mama a Llama? by Deborah Guarino
This is probably one of the more modern picture books in our home library. It was first published in 1997. This is a very fun read aloud as it is written in rhyming verse. This gave the children many opportunities to guess which word would come next in the story. They had fun with that. The story also does a great job describing all of the many traits of various animals.
Noah's Ark by Peter Spier, *
Peter Spier is a Dutch-born American author and illustrator who has published more than thirty children's books. If you haven't checked out a Peter Spier book, than you don't know what you are missing. His illustrations are breathtakingly beautiful and extremely detailed. You could probably spend an 20 minutes just looking at one page of this book and not take everything in. I like how this book captured the emotional side of Noah. This book really gives children the opportuntity to think aobut what it would have been like to live on an ark with all of those animals while the whole world was flooded.
Poems and Prayers for the Very Young, compiled and illustrated by Martha Alexander, *
Again, we read selected poems from this book. Marcus and Sophia are beggining to appreciate poetry more and more. I think the key is to just keep consistently exposing them to great works of poetry.
* A Sonlight P3/P4 Title
** A Before Five in a Row Title
To see what other kids are reading, please check out Mouse Grows, Mouse Learns and Feed Me Books Friday, and Read-Aloud Thursdays.