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Reading in the Rain

I woke up to the pattering of rain against my roof and windows.  It’s funny, during winter you kind of dread that sound.  It could be ice.  It could become snow.  It will definitely be cold.  But with warm weather seeming determined to stick around, the sound was soothing and welcome.  Our lives are just as affected by the seasons now as they were thousands of years ago when our ancestors worshiped the sun and planned their year around the turning of the seasons.  Go outside today and remember that.   It’ll make you feel more connected.

reading in the rain books

Still, no matter the season, rain is important to us, and mostly we’d rather have it than not.  Because gardens.  And water supplies.  There’s a lot your littles can learn from and about rain, and there are, of course, books you can read with them to help them learn.  And there’s nothing like a cuddly, rainy day on the couch exploring the pages of a few good books.

Fiction

waiting out the storm

This poetic masterpiece is a gentle question-and-answer book about what happens during a storm, including where different animals go.  You can’t get much cuddlier than reading this book with the sound of rain plonking in the background.  This book is not only excellent for making a child feel safe while explaining storms to them, the format also helps littles make their own observations about what is going on outside.  The illustrations are downright gorgeous, too.  The little girl asks what the turtles, chipmunks, and birds do during a storm, providing you with a few options if you want to do a craft to go with the book.  In fact, there’s a simple paper plate turtle craft at Glued to My Crafts that I think you’ll enjoy and won’t take too much work on your part.

the storm book

This book.  Wow.  I have to warn you, it is wordy for a picture book.  But oh, these words.  From the hazy heat of a summer day to the first crack of lightning to the rainbow following the storm, this book is such a great intro to description your little will swoon.  Take your time.  Read it slowly.  Enjoy the lyrical description of a thunderstorm and how it affects several people.  Then make a thunderstorm of your own from construction paper and ribbon, like this:

thunderstorm craft

Pretty self-explanatory–jut cut out some cloud and lightning shapes, let your littles glue them together however they want, and tape some curly ribbon to the back so it looks like falling rain.  Yeah yeah.

listen to the rainIf you’re looking for sparer text and beautifully painted pictures, look no further.  This book is full of onomatopoeia, and could be a great way to get into a discussion about figurative language.  Also, it just plain sounds pretty.  If you’re looking activities to go with it, check out my post 11 Awesome Activities to Do in the Rain.

water danceFinally, my favorite.  More onomatopoeia.  Told from the first person, this book goes through the water cycle as if the water were tell you its story.  But you can just look at the cover and see how lush and breath-taking the illustrations are.  And this one provides many options for activities.  Set up an evaporation experiment.  Create a cloud in a bottle.  Break out your watercolors and paint the storm taking place around you.

Nonfiction

nat geo stormsI love these Nat Geo books, because they give simple introductions to their topics.  This one is meant for younger readers, but it can be a great starting place or refresher course for any age.  Plus, the pictures are really amazing.

who likes the rainThis book is a flap book that answers some pretty amazing questions, like what raindrops really look like, why rain makes the air smell different, and why gardens need water.  Plus, kids love flap books.  All of them do.  It’s something about the hidden knowledge, I think.  So don’t think this is only for preschoolers, because even though you know I Shudder at the thought of reading levels, the book claims to be for up to second graders.  Which means anyone can read it.  Anyone at all.  Just like any other book.

everything kids weather bookFavorite.  This book has everything in it.  Plus, puzzles and ideas for scientific activities.  Um, win.  I wouldn’t even bother with a library copy.  This one’s an owner.

It’s pretty easy to turn a rainy day into a cozy, fun-filled one if you have the right tools.  And you know the Lit Mama, the toolbox always includes books.  Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go cuddle 2 sweet and beautiful boys and get them to make some crafts with me.

Love wins,

KT

 

Story Time: Big Red Barn

Story Time: Big Red Barn - Crafts, printables, and activities for the pictue book

This is the time of year when things really get hopping on a farm.  The garden and fields are being prepared for planting, baby animals are being born, and there is a general air of activity every day from dawn until dusk.  It’s one of my favorite times on the farm, because everything seems new and full of promise.

Big Red Barn by Margaret Wise Brown encapsulates that feeling.  I love the way the story starts with the bright day and all the activity and ends with moon riding high over the sleeping animals in the barn.  Of course, I can tell you from experience, geese are never quiet all night.  But that’s okay.  They make a lovely sound.

I’m a bigger fan of the original, soft, pen-and-ink illustrations of Roselia Hartman than the new board book versions (which are more cartoon-ish) but it says something that this book has remained popular for over 60 years regardless of who does the illustrations.
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Books That Take Your Breath

One of my favorite things in the whole world is finding a new author to fall in love with.  I told you last month that I had stopped trying to convince the Littles to read Gone-Away Lake by Elizabeth Enright because they kept putting me off for what they thought were more adventurous stories.  And I have to admit, I was pushing it on them based on the back-cover synopsis alone.  It looked like the kind of book I Would Have Loved as kid, and I wanted them to know that kind of story.

Enright-Gone Away

What kind of story?  The kind where the kid goes to stay with relatives in the country for the summer.  The kind that makes summer seem like a revelation and country living more fascinating and exciting than any old suburb or city.  The kind that has at least one frog, one forest, one barn or other mysterious building.  Mostly though, the kind of story that gets by with no violence, very little mystery, and as Middle pointed out, “Hey, there wasn’t any real conflict in that story.”

(Before I go on, may I just say my kids Freaking Rock?)

“Well,” said I, “there were points of conflict.”

“I know,” he said (and I was So Proud!), “but most books have a major conflict in the plot and this one didn’t.”

Boom.  I have taught them something, after all.

The cool thing about it all is that I have also now introduced them to a memorable story and an author who can write books without major conflict in them and still make a point that resounds in their little hearts.

Every time I suggested they read Gone-Away Lake on their own, I thought to myself, “Why don’t I just read it?  Then I can Really Convince them.”  So one night I took it to bed with me.  I read about 5 pages.  I put it down.  Because I knew I was going to be making it a class as soon as we finished the book we were reading aloud together.  Within 5 pages I knew I had always been right about that book.

Want to know the best part?

We finished Gone-Away Lake last week.  Just so happens in my (far too) extensive library, I had the sequel, Return to Gone-Away.  Guess what we’re reading this week?

return to gone away

They insisted.

🙂 🙂 🙂

Listen, if you don’t already read aloud together in your homeschool every day, Get On It.  I’ve talked about the benefits before, but this one is new even to me.  If you pick the books for your homeschool reading class, you have the opportunity to introduce your littles to books they might not normally read–and I don’t just mean the Classics, though you know I think that is important, too.  I’m talking about the kinds of books that are written just for kids, the kinds that stay with us all our lives.  The kind that made me wistfully dream of living in the country when I was small and led me to my own beautiful farm and wondrous life.  The kind that can change everything for them and they don’t even know it till they turn the first page.

I truly hope you check out these books.  I like them so much I’m honing the novel studies I wrote for my shop’s grand opening.  You’ll love the study, too.

More shameless plugging.

P.S.  You still have through tomorrow to enter my giveaway for the Dr. Seuss canvases.  If you haven’t already, head over and give yourself a chance to win!  I’ll be announcing the winners on Friday.

Love wins,

KT

 

 

25 Days of Lit in Your Homeschool Day 18: Frogs

This post contains affiliate links

This post contains affiliate links

Frogs! Toads!  All those other Awesome Amphibians!  It’s the way of the universe that our first Science Question of the Day was about the difference between cold- and warm-blooded animals and next on my 25-Days-of-Lit list was frogs.  I love frogs.  Perhaps because I was fascinated by the Grimm Brothers’ Frog Prince fairy tale when I was small, perhaps because they are such fascinating creatures in and of themselves.  It’s kind of a chicken or egg thing, ya know?  I remember being about 8 years old and discovering a puddle full of tadpoles on the road near my cousin’s house.  Being city girls, we had to ask her stepdad what they were, these wiggly little black things who could live in a puddle on asphalt.  Tadpoles?!  Really?  You mean, Baby Frogs?!

Yeah, I’m a sucker for a frog.  Here are some of the reasons why:

 

Frog and Toad All Year by Arnold Lobel

If you’ve never met Frog and Toad, you must live under a rock.  These characters just slay me.  They always have.  I owned all of the “I Can Read” versions of these books before I even had kids.  This one is my favorite because it not only celebrates friendship, it celebrates the turning of the year.  Both things are sacred to me.  They should be sacred to everyone.  Your littles will love Toad’s silliness and Frog’s willingness to rescue him from himself.

 

The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame

If you don’t already love this book, love it now.  Love this version because it is illustrated by Ernest H. Shepard. You know who Ernest H. is, don’t you?  The very guy who illustrated the Pooh books for Milne!  This lyrical tale of animal life along the riverbank shares the antics of Rat, Mole, Toad, and Badger with such amazing description you will feel the sun on your skin, hear the lap of the water, and cringe along with everyone else when Toad messes up… again.  My favorite place in the world is Toad Hall.  I think it was the first miniaturized home of an anthropomorphised animal that I envisioned for myself.  So I’ve always wanted to live there.  This book would be great for a river unit, too.

 

Franklin and the Thunderstorm by Paulette Bourgeois

You don’t have to tell me that Franklin isn’t a frog.  I’m aware.  But he is one of my pond creatures and I won’t be doing a turtle list, so I’m including him here.  Not only are these books lilting, beautifully-illustrated stories about friendship, conquering fears, and other Lessons You Want Your Littles To Learn, but the TV show based on them is one of the few that didn’t make me cringe when my Littles wanted to watch it.  In fact, I would often sit down and watch it with them.  Because… it’s Franklin.  Hello?

 

Froggy Learns to Swim by Jonathan London

The Froggy books are excellent for reading aloud with your littles.  And nothing is funnier than a frog who is afraid of water.

 

. Frogged by Vivian Vande Velde

This is a delightful fractured fairy tale that is kind of like the Disney movie–when the princess kisses the frog, she turns into a frog, too.  What follows is a rollicking, hilarious adventure.

 

Frog’s Princess by KT Brison

Yeah, I’m tooting my own horn here, but I don’t have a publicist, so if I don’t, who will?  This version of the fairy tale includes a soldier called Frog, a princess who longs to be queen but has no idea how to be one, and a sorcerer who will stop at nothing to have control of the kingdom.  Enjoy.

There are a million other froggy books out there.  And toad books. And turtle books.  So warm your littles’ hearts with some cold-blooded companions.  Everybody needs that.

Love wins,

KT

Day One: Donkeys   Day Two: Summer    Day Three: Water     Day Four: Insects     Day Five: Owls

Day Six: Bears     Day Seven: Winter     Day Eight: Poetry     Day Nine: Squirrels & Rabbits     Day Ten: Moon

Day Eleven: Autumn   Day Twelve: Plants   Day Thirteen: Camp   Day Fourteen: Legends   Day Fifteen: Mice

Day Sixteen: Mythology    Day Seventeen: Farm