- Publishing Information: Antoinette Portis. Roaring Brook Press, New York. 2016.
- Ages: Preschool
BEST FRINTS IN THE WHOLE UNIVERSE is a fun book about friendship and feelings. It is a great book for preschoolers who are learning to handle arguments and conflict as they play more with children their own age. It acknowledges the common fights that happen and what the children hear in response to those fights. I can hear children giggling as they see the pictures of the friends doing things that they themselves get in trouble for.
It celebrates differences and diversity in relationships and shows how working together is so much more fun than doing things on our own.
What I love About this Book:
The vocabulary building skills in this book are actually phenomenal. The authors use of “alien language” gives parents and children the opportunity to translate the words into “Earth language.” It builds vocabulary in a fun and unique way.
It also creates a space to talk about feelings. Using the two best friends as guides, have your child tell about a time where she disagreed with a friend. Ask questions about what she felt and how she acted and what she might do in the future to solve the fight.
Kids will really gravitate to the bright, simple pictures and the common issues the book addresses. It will definitely be one you go back to again and again. Kids will have fun while learning. The best kind of fun.
How to Use this Book:
Learn to Translate. This is a great opportunity to discuss different languages. Go online or find a book at your local library or bookstore to help translate everyday words into another language. You can print out labels on the computer and go around the house placing the English and Spanish or German or whatever language you choose! Click here for a list of premade English/Spanish Vocabulary labels.
Make a story about a disagreement your own child has had. Using the feelings he felt, the actions he made and the solution he comes up with to create a low pressure way to work through feelings and help your child name them when he feels them.
Create your own alien. Use Playdo or paint or crayons or whatever you have on hand to create your own version of the planet Boborp and friends Omek and Yelfred. Drawing, coloring and Playdo are great ways to build hand strength for future handwriting.
What to Read Next:
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What are your favorite books about friendship? Comment and share!
- Publishing Information: Katrin Stangl. Enchanted Lion Books, New York, 2016.
- Ages: Toddler, Preschool, Early Reader
STRONG AS A BEAR is a great vocabulary building book. The pictures are simple and coordinate with the words on the page. The sentences are short but the words o are unique adjectives and animal names that will increase your child’s wordbase.
The opening lines are Free as a Bird. And show a picture of a child escaping from his crib with a bird calling from the rail. There are other objects on the page that will encourage your child to engage deeper in the book through naming what everything is.
What I Love
What I love about this book is the strong use of unique words. Vocabulary helps build future readers by providing a large dictionary of words in your child’s head that he can use to retrieve from when learning to read. I also love how this book grows with a reader. A toddler will engage with the simple text and bold pictures. A preschooler can delve deeper and discuss the emotions of what each picture creates in their heads. A new reader can use this book to begin to sound out and blend sounds. The familiarity of the book will help her feel confident as she explores the world of words.
How to use this book.
The first few times you read this book with your child, focus on the words. Read through it a few times. Ask questions but start small. Ask about the colors or objects in the pictures. Then as your child becomes familiar with the text have them anticipate the animal. When ready pick some of the words your child may not have heard often like mischievous, magpie, clever. Give definitions and help him find examples in other books of what those words mean.
Tell stories using the pictures. Each picture is a starting off point for a story. Why is the boy climbing out of his crib? Where do you think he is going? What will happen when he gets there? Why is the clown following an elephant? Where do you think they work?
This book creates conversations. One indicator of reading success is the quality of talk between parent and child. The richer the conversations, the more words a child hears. Books are a great way to stimulate and help make space for talking with your child in a meaningful way each day.
I love simple books that pack so much within its pages. Unique vocabulary and opportunities to increase narrative skills from the pictures are cornerstones of success for future readers.
What to read next
(I am an Amazon Affiliate. When you click on the picture it takes you to Amazon, where if you make purchases I do receive a portion of the sale.)
I reviewed Big Bear, Little Chair earlier this year.
A die cut book that will help increase narrative skills by creating stories about what is happening inside or outside.
Another great wordless book that will encourage young readers to create stories and worlds of her own.
What books with simple sentences do you love to read with your child?
Long car trips, over-tired kids, and too many days off school? Here is a list of books to help you have fun and spend time together this holiday weekend. Don’t forget to add to the fun by making your own Thanksgiving poems, going on a Thanksgiving scavenger hunt or making your own Thanksgiving story, complete with pictures to help celebrate time together and build future readers!
Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Reading!
Kids fighting in the car? Pull out this Thanksgiving book by Dav Pilkey. It will have them laughing in their seats.
Younger child keeps eating his siblings book? This lift the flap board book has simple, bright pictures that will keep little hands engaged but is safe to chew on.
Political Talk at the table have you down? Pull out this book and share with all your relatives to help remind everyone how gratitude changes attitude.
Are the kids missing school? This is a fun book with silly pictures that will teach your kids to count backwards instead.
Feeling bad for all the Turkeys that didn’t receive a pardon this Thanksgiving? You and your child can cheer for this turkey to have a happy ending to its thanksgiving.
Need a book with big vocabulary to impress your in-laws? Karma Wilson always has beautiful rhyming text and big big words sure to impress.
Want a Thanksgiving book that teaches? Gail Gibbons always has beautifully illustrated and thoughtful books. A great way to end an evening.
Signs your child is ready for chapter books:
- Enjoys listening to longer stories.
- Enjoys stories where the pictures don’t do most of the talking.
- Enjoys hearing the stories you read to your older child. (Reading Rainbow)
- Starts thinking abstractly.
So if you answer yes to most of the questions you are ready to start choosing your first chapter book with your child.
Picking the Right Book:
Make sure the story fits your child’s interests. Like choosing a picture book, we want to make sure our child engages in the story. Look for books where the main character shares hobbies or is in a similar life situation.
Pictures still help. Choose a book that still has pictures throughout the story. It breaks up the text and provides an opportunity for you to talk about what you have read. With more listening than looking it might be harder for your child to hold the story thread in his head at first. Practice stopping every few pages and asking questions.
Start Small. There are a lot of great beginning chapter books like The Magic Treehouse series or The Clubhouse Mysteries or Matt Christopher or Mercy Watson among many others. The sentences and chapters are short and there are usually no more than 5 paragraphs per page.
Slowly start adding chapter books to your daily reading habit. Increase the number of pages you read and don’t worry about reading a full chapter! Since the stories aren’t necessarily driven by the pictures, let your child explore legos, coloring, blocks or another activity while you read. Just because their hands are busy doesn’t mean they aren’t listening. Always talk about what you read the previous day before you start reading. It will help them learn to hold the story in their heads for longer amounts of time in between readings.
Before long your child will ask to add a chapter book or two to the library basket but never stop reading those picture books because they are still a great source of unique and rich vocabulary and reading fun!
Other great chapter books:
(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 percentage of the sale.)
What our family is currently reading together: