- Rebecca Purdy
Some books just aren’t meant to be read alone by an adult sitting quietly on her couch with no children in sight; naming no names of course. They demand an audience so that the actions aren’t just read, but performed, and so that the words aren’t just said, but shouted! You don’t need a room full of children to enjoy books at this level, this is the kind of fun that can be had even if there are just two of you!
This lesson was driven home last week. I had the pleasure to see some of our wonderful Grow a Reader class presenters in action. It’s always a joy to see these talented folks reinforcing early literacy skills through fun and excitement, but I was also converted about a book that I had previously read and dismissed. It was “Duck, Duck, Moose!” by Sudipta Bardham-Quallen and seeing Megan at Porter bring this book to life made all of the difference in the world. She started by making the comparison to everyone’s favorite childhood game, Duck, Duck, Goose. The children loved that the book was “wrong” by using Moose instead! As she read, she pointed and said “duck” at each appearance as the fowl spiffed up the house, clearly preparing for a party. Enter Moose and the preschool aged children joined Megan in exasperatedly saying his name as he accidentally destroyed one thing after another! By the time the ducks’ preparations have ended, Moose has disappeared. After much calling of “Moose?,” the ducks discovered him weeping on a log, sad to have been so much trouble. Beckoned inside, Moose discovers the party was for him all along!
“Wiggle” by Doreen Cronin is another great example. Throughout the book, a friendly looking cartoon pup wiggles everywhere and in a variety of ways. He wiggles with gorillas and in the water, and wiggles from his tail to his hair. This celebration of wiggles ends with the best wiggle of all, the wiggling of an egg that results in a newborn chick! Sure you can simply read the line, “do you wake up with a wiggle?,” but how much more fun is it for you and your young person to shimmy your bodies every time you read the word? While it’s not quite a perfect match another fun way to make this colorful book even more dynamic is to sing it to the tune of “Do Your Ears Hang Low.” The additional enjoyment it adds makes any tune adjustments worth it!
“Can You Make a Scary Face?” by Jan Thomas is best enjoyed by listening to the friendly ladybug and following all of his directions. Whether standing up, or no wait, sitting down, nope that’s not right, standing up again, it’s best just to do exactly what he says and it’s definitely more fun. Once the ladybug has you standing, he invites you to play “Let’s Pretend!” and imagine “you have a tiny bug on your nose” that you need to wiggle off. Unfortunately, all of that wiggling, leads to tickling until it flies into your mouth and soon you’re doing everything you can to blow it out again! The buggy battle continues with readers doing the chicken dance to get rid of the critter until a giant hungry frog comes to eat that tickly bug! The only problem, it’s a scary giant hungry frog and there’s only way to get rid of him--can you make a scary face? The bright color pictures of this interactive story combine to make this giggly good fun!
Press Here” by Herve Tullet is the quietest of the books in today’s column. Instead of your entire body getting involved in this simple, yet fun interactive book, all you need is your finger. The text is a series of easy-to-follow instructions that seemingly affect the book itself. In the beginning, readers are confronted with a yellow dot and the instruction to press it. The dot multiplies with every touch and rubbing the one on the left, turns it red when you turn the page. Shaking the book, puts lines of dots in disarray and turning it on end, moves them from one side of the page to the other. Children are guaranteed to be fascinated even if they’re old enough to realize it’s just for fun!
Originally published in the Free Lance-Star newspaper.