Thursday, September 01, 2011

Read Aloud Thursday ::: Our Month of McCloskey

What more is there to say about the wonderful-ness that is author Robert McCloskey? I've blogged my love of Make Way for Ducklings before and mentioned that he is very recognizable illustrator in the Henry Reed series of books. His chapter book, Homer Price, was one of our first bigger read-alouds as well.

As we started Kindergarten with N2 this fall, I knew I wanted to go the Five-in-a-Row reading route with her. Pick a book, read it multiple times over the course of the week, talk about it, do some little activities around it, etc. I also wanted to go at it with some sort of a theme, whether it be several books by the same author, several books about a certain country, books about a particular animal, and so on. We decided to start with Robert McCloskey and I am so glad we did. We revisited several favorites and discovered two new-to-us books that we loved.

 

The three favorites that we started with were Make Way for Ducklings (naturally), Blueberries for Sal, and Lentil. Of the three, Blueberries for Sal is the most simple. As with all his books there are large, sweeping illustrations in his pen-and-ink style of drawing, and the sweet story tells about little Sal who goes out blueberries picking with her mother. Make Way for Ducklings (in my opinion) is the most well known of his books - the story of Mr. and Mrs. Mallard as they look for a home to raise their brood of eight ducklings. Lentil is the story of a boy who wants to sing but just does not have the skill. Instead, he learns to play the harmonica and ends up helping his town out of a sticky situation with his new-found skill.

The books that we discovered this year were no less delightful. First up was A Time of Wonder. This is the first book of McCloskey's that I have seen with color illustrations which was a surprise as we opened the book. It only added to the story as it is a broad tale of the change of seasons for those that live on the northeast cost of the United States, not coincidentally where McCloskey was from. Through his illustrations, he shares with us the beauty of watching a spring rain move in across the ocean, the summer fog lifting as the days get warmer and children play on the rough shoreline, as well the beauty and fury of a late summer hurricane as residents batten down the hatches and the powerful winds and rain sweep in. A book that would easily lead into discussions about sea creatures, weather, or changes of seasons as a child's interest might lead. It is also a longer story with a more poetic feel to the writing ... a beautiful addition of his to add to our collection.

Secondly, we read One Morning in Maine, which could be called a sequel to Blueberries for Sal. The story of an older Sal (who has a little sister of her own now) and her first loose tooth. She is becoming a big girl now and that tooth symbolizes some of the changes that come about when you begin to grow up. Sal's day is filled with helping her sister get ready in the morning, helping her Dad pick clams for lunch, going to the store to pick up some groceries. Sweet, simple days when it seems like life wasn't as busy as it is now. And again, this book is filled with amazing sketches of the Maine shoreline as well as some of the animals that live there. It really does make me want to take a trip to that part of the United States and do a little exploring of my own!

All of these books would fall under a "highly recommend" category if you are looking for stories to share with little ones. I'm so glad we started our first month of school with Robert McCloskey and his works, and I think my kindergartner (and tag-along 4 year old) feels the same.

I'm linking up with Amy at Hope is the Word for Read Aloud Thursday this week. Thanks, Amy, as always for hosting. : )

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4 comments:

  1. McCloskey was a genius, wasn't he? We've read all these picture books but still haven't read Homer Price. I think we need to revisit them. I wonder if Homer Price would be a good chapter book for Lulu to tackle alone. Hmmmm . .

    I'm so glad you linked up today!

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  2. One morning in maine is my personal fave...blueberries for sal is my kids fave!

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  3. Love, love, love McCloskey.

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  4. I love McCloskey books! I only knew Make Way for Ducklings in my childhood. But like you, I have discovered new treasures as I book hunt for my children. Have you also read the biography that describes how he purchased a bunch of ducks and had them in his apartment in order to learn how to draw them? If not and if you're interested, I'll try and dig up the title of it for you. H.A. Rey also has a great biography about them as well. I think you know about that one...I think you've written about it!

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