I kind of hope I’m introducing this lovely book to you. Of course, it would be better if all of us knew all the books because yeah yeah, but this one has been special to the Brison family for a long time and I want the chance to share it with new readers. Spoonbill Swamp by Brenda Z. Guiberson is one of those brilliant nonfiction stories… you know, the ones that don’t personify the animals but tell a story about their Real Lives. And the illustrations by Megan Lloyd? Oh. Yeah. They are nothing short of fantabulously gorgeous.
I’ve come up with some really cool stuff to do to go with this book, mostly inspired by Lloyd’s breathtaking sunrises and sunsets in the book, but also taken from the story itself. Let me give you a sample of these illustrations. They make me feel peaceful. We don’t have much by way of swamps here in Indiana, so this is the kind of book that fuels my imagination and makes me want to take a road trip. Just look at the pictures in this book!
Yeah. That’s the stuff. Continue reading
No way can we go through the Easter season without doing a Story Time on Peter Rabbit. That is so not a thing. So join me on a journey through Mr. McGregor’s delectable garden, and let’s find some amazing activities to go along with this classic story that every child should read at least 50 times before the age of 10.
Now, I have to tell you, these illustrations still spark my imagination. There’s nothing quite like the sweetness of them. Even more than the story itself, the illustrations speak to me. I have wandered through them hundreds if not thousands of times, both as a child myself and with my own children. I have imagined what it must have been like to be Peter, to be the cat in the garden or the bird, to be Mrs. Rabbit or Peter’s siblings. I have imagined plucking the veggies from McGregor’s garden. My boys have, too. I’m betting your littles will as well.
Easter is sneaking up on us, my lovelies. I can tell by the way the garden is greening up, the peepers are singing at the pond this morning, and the geese and sandhill cranes are calling all day long as they migrate back to the north. All these things whisper to me that it is almost time to dye eggs, make a scavenger hunt and hold on that for at least one more year my littles will be even remotely interested in the holiday. It’s hard once they’ve outgrown a basket full of water guns and candy and the like. And they found out 2 years ago that the Easter Bunny isn’t a real dude.
However, I do try to get them to hold on to some of the magic of these holidays that lose their luster when they realize I’ve been lying to them all their lives. I figure if they don’t hate me for it, they can’t hate the Easter Bunny. So we still dye eggs together every year, only now I don’t have to sneak outside somehow at 7 am to set up the hunt. It works out better for mama, anyway.
Since Easter is hippity-hoppity on its way, let’s do a story time about a beautiful children’s book, The Easter Egg by Jan Brett. I love Ms. Brett. Her poetic illustrations are even better than her sweet stories. Seriously, I’m a grown up (claimed!) and I could look at these pictures all day. I can only imagine how they effect little kids. The story itself is amazing, and watching Hoppi accidentally stumble on his own amazing version of an Easter Egg is magical. However, you are here for activities to go along with all this goodness, and I am happy to provide.
You guys. I’m the one wiggling with excitement right now. One reason is simply that it’s October and October is everything wonderful. We took a walk in our woods last evening and a crisp breeze cooled us and brought that spicy, cinnamon scent of decaying leaves (ever noticed how leaves are the only things that smell good when they die?) wafting into the valleys. We made a family effort to collect the most beautiful leaves from the forest’s carpet. Then, as we headed back to the house, the sun was setting over the field and it looked like someone had lit a jack-o-lantern candle behind the trees. It was gorgeous.
The other thing I’m excited about is the new series I’m starting today. Story Time is going to concentrate on one picture book per post and will be full of suggestions for lessons you can add into your homeschool day. Or your fun Saturday with your Littles. My favorite part of being a children’s librarian was planning and conducting Story Time every week, especially when my dear friend Abby and I got to work on it together. I miss it. So there’s no good reason why I can’t keep doing it, right? The planning part, anyway. I’ll let you guys play with your own kids.
If you haven’t read this book with your littles yet, I have to assume you’ve been living under a rock.
Just kidding. But it is a very popular book for a very good reason. It’s one of those books that encourages courage and kindness while getting your littles up and moving. Do Not Read This Book Sitting Still.
When the boots go clomp, clomp, stomp your feet. When the pants go wiggle, wiggle, wiggle your whole body. When the gloves go clap, clap, clap your hands. When we first started reading this book years ago, I was the one doing all the movements, and my Littles cackled every time, especially when I sang out, “WIGGLE WIGGGGGLLLLEEE!” In a very short time, they were joining in the fun. So that is your first activity. Read this book With Feeling.