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Blue Stories on a Gray Day

Some books are shared best in a group, like the ever favorite Pete the Cat by Letwin. The repeated phrases, the catchy song, the beat of the text, the broad stroked illustrations all lend well to multiple readers. But other books are perfect for sharing with one child alone. We looked at this kind of book today when I showed the children Not All Animals are Blue: a Big book of little differences by Beatrice Boutignon. Although I could not go through the entire book in storytime, I was hoping that it would intrigue some children so they would bring it home for a closer look. Each page spread shows five animals similar in some ways and different in others. The facing page has five identifying questions about the illustrations. Some of the questions are easy enough for a toddler, but there are plenty of intriguing questions too. This provides so much stimulation for your child. They learn to interpret the clues in the pictures and then draw conclusions. Children learn literacy skills and language by listening to others talk. A book like this encourages conversation. Listen to what your child is saying and then repeat back to them what they have communicated. Try using other words to express their ideas, this will broaden their vocabulary and encourage fluency in language. Use your child’s response to the pictures as a guide and encourage his contemplation and reasoning. These are all skills which learned early in childhood, grow exponentially throughout life.

We read other “Blue” books too, such as Christopher Wormell’s Blue Rabbit and the Runaway Wheel which has wonderful linoleum block prints. Each page begins with an outsized first letter which the children were quick to identify. In case of the “O” they also pointed out all the O shapes in the accompanying illustration.

The Bog Baby by Jeanne Willis is one of my favorite books about the magic of childhood that we keep deep inside ourselves all our lives. Sharing a book like this with your child releases a little of that magic. The ethereal blue Bog Baby is caught in the wild and kept as a pet until the children in the story learn that real love is letting go no matter how much it hurts.

We shared a flannel story version of the board book I’m the biggest thing in the ocean. The children loved identifying all the sea creatures and were anxious to relay all the facts they knew about giant squids and whales. Later we concluded with a little blue collage of bluebirds, blue skies and cotton fluffy clouds. See you next week!

Shapes Worksheet

Colleen Swider