Thursday, July 26, 2012
Back to School: Toddlers and Early Childhood
Eric Hill, author of the Spot series, has created a flap book called Spot Goes to School. When Spot arrives at school with his mother, the child-listener opens a door flap, revealing the teacher and a group of students welcoming him. This depiction allows children to see that school is a safe and friendly place. Next, Spot feels a little apprehensive during song time (something he feels he is not prepared to do). The child-listener opens a flap to see him hiding under a table with the caption, “I can’t sing…” This situation is ideal for discussing a child’s fears about school or strategies for dealing with uncomfortable moments. Then, the youngsters play dress-up, build with block, and paint on easels. Each page has a flap where the child-listener can “find” Spot having fun with his classmates. Other activities that are depicted are story time, recess, and show and tell. Parents can talk about the various fun activities (such as the ones pictured) that the child can look forward to. When Spot’s mom arrives to take him home, he is so involved in all the excitement of the day that he does not want to leave!
Lauren Thompson, creator of Mouse’s First series, has a wonderful book called Mouse’s First Day of School. Mouse crawls into a new hiding place: A backpack. He ends up in a new place to explore. Using vivid colors and endearing illustrations, mouse finds many wonderful objects in the classroom. He jumps down and finds blocks, a car, and a drum. He scurries up on the shelf where he discovers books and plants. In a corner, there are shapes and puzzles. All around the room there are thrilling sights! Thompson also utilizes onomatopoeia in many of her descriptions, such as “Sssip, slurp, crunch snacks!” and “Clang, bang, stir pots!” Other pictures have wonderful descriptive words like “Viny, climby, twiny plants!” and “Feathery, floppy, boppy hats!” The best part of the room is that it is full of “wiggly, giggly, best of all friends!” Mouse’s First Day of School is a wonderful book for developing early language and reading skills as parents can point out rhyming words, alliteration, sound words (onomatopoeia), action words, and much more! The simple poetic text makes it fun for children to read along. Ultimately, the book portrays school as a stimulating and lively place.