Thursday, June 23, 2011

Sandbox Book Club Recommendation

The following is a guest post courtesy of Becky Whitney and her Sandbox Book Club Recommendation of Rub Some Dirt on It-

In My Tree and In My Pond 
by Sara Gillingham

A lot of people ask me how I got my kids to love reading so much, how Jackson is already reading three letter words, how I find time to read to both of them books that are appropriate and interesting to each.  The answer?  It’s not easy.  It’s time-consuming and, at times, frustrating or exhausting.  But instilling in my kids a love of reading is well worth the effort.

Emmy was not a natural reader, although in a match against wills with her mommy over whether or not she would learn to like reading, Mommy won. Mostly because I would have never backed down, but also because I was flexible.  She used to have only certain times of day when she liked to read, usually right after waking up.  There is no point in trying to read to a cranky, tired or hungry baby or toddler; no one wins.  Also, I learned quickly to read about what interests her at her current stage, and at ten months she loved peek-a-boo, so we read lift-the-flap books.  Now at thirteen months, she loves books about animals.  She loves looking at herself in the mirror so she loves books with reflectors and pictures of other babies.  She wants to touch everything so books with different textures interest her.  She may not have her own library card,  but she has a point of view (and she isn't afraid to share it!).  That is why I love these books, by Sara Gillingham.  
In My Tree, In My Nest, In My Den, In My get the idea.  There are so many different types of animal homes that are chronicled in these books.  Gillingham describes what happens inside each animal's home--a tree, a nest, a den, a pond, a meadow, etc.  She uses bright patterns and pictures as well as great descriptive language to enhance what are pretty simple phrases throughout the story.  But the real reason kids, especially young ones like Em, love these books is because they come with their own puppet.  

See how the owl pops out of the front of the book?  That's because he's a finger puppet, and there's a hole in the back for the reader or narrator to slip his finger into.  Then owl or fish or bear or bunny bounce around throughout the story, captivating young readers and tricking them into reading a book that maybe wouldn't hold their interest if it was just words.  These books are great for your finicky readers, who don't stand a chance against a book that moves and wiggles and gives kisses (well, that's what our puppets do).

My favorite part of the books is how they all wind up happy and safe at home with their family at the end.  Jackson always points out the Mommy, Daddy, and Baby and usually snuggles the puppet.  
Ends the book on a good note, and keeps the kids coming back.  And for us parents who are struggling to keep our kids coming back to books when there are so many other louder and more stimulating distractions, we’ll take any help we can get!


Photos courtesy of Becky Whitney

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