Shh! We Have a Plan by Chris Haughton. U.S. edition: Candlewick Press, 2014.
Four wide-eyed hunters are trying to catch a bird in a net. Make that three hunters; the fourth—and smallest–member of their party just wants to be friendly (“Hello, birdie.”). The group’s comical, not-so-stealthy pursuit of the bird features one failed attempt after another, with a pattern emerging as the youngest one greets the bird, the others shush their small companion (“We have a plan”), and then counting to three before they pounce….on nothing as the bird has already flown away. The spare, droll narrative is set against marvelous visual storytelling. The stylized illustrations are in shades of deep blue with black and white, against which the brightly colored red bird stands out. Young readers and listeners will be reciting along and laughing out loud, with the delight heightened by two big surprises as the story draws to a close. © Cooperative Children’s Book Center
- Talk: Ask children why the character with the plan kept saying “Shh!”
- Play: Hide a toy and give your child some clues as to where it may be. Now have your child hide a toy and give you the clues.
- STEM: Take a walk with children and look for animals. How many different type of animals did you see? Talk about how the animals are similar and how they are different.
Go, Shapes, Go! by Denise Fleming. Beach Lane, 2014.
A small toy mouse on wheels commandingly directs a variety of shapes — squares, circles, ovals, arcs, and rectangles — in different sizes — big, small, thin, tiny — to slide, roll, flip, and fly into the form of a monkey. When the mouse suddenly crashes into the monkey, the shapes reform into a bounding cat. Mouse quickly tames the shapes back into the safer monkey mode. Denise Fleming’s trademark painted-paper collage, uncomplicated text, and comfortable pace make this book an engaging introduction to shapes, sizes, and movement for younger children, as well as to the concepts of parts and wholes, as separate shapes create concrete objects. © Cooperative Children’s Book Center
- Talk: Letter knowledge begins with shapes. What shape does the letter A look like? Think about other letters and their corresponding shapes.
- Write: Draw shapes in sand, shaving cream or pudding
- Play: Act out the actions from this book – slide, bounce, roll, slither, flip, march, leap, scoot, fly, twirl, hop!
- STEM: Discuss the different shapes you see in this book and talk about the shapes you see in your daily lives.
I Am So Brave by Stephen Krensky. Abrams Appleseed, 2014.
In this slim board book, a young brown-skinned boy tells of overcoming his fears. Each fear is resolved in a way that allows the boy to feel safe, content, and brave. The boy’s obvious pride at overcoming his fears is reflected in the straightforward text and bright graphic-design-style illustrations in primary colors with brown, black, and white. Many of the boy’s fears are common childhood worries — barking dogs, loud traffic noises, bedtime darkness, being separated from Mom and Dad — that all parents and children will easily recognize. The boy’s solutions to his fears offer positive, encouraging responses to the anxiety that many children may feel in new or uncomfortable situations. © Cooperative Children’s Book Center
- Talk: Ask your child what they can do now that they couldn’t do when they were younger. How does that make you feel to be able to do all of those things now?
- Sing: “If You’re Happy and You Know It”. Replace happy with different emotion words like grumpy, scared, or excited.
- Play: Take turns with children acting out different emotions and guessing the emotions.