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The Airport Book by Lisa Brown. A Neal Porter Book / Roaring Brook Press, 2016

Endpapers showing a block of city apartments in the rain with a small boy and even smaller girl in two windows begin this account of their family’s airplane trip. The little girl packs her beloved stuffed animal monkey herself, resulting in a not-quite-securely-fastened suitcase. The family arrives at the airport, checks in, goes through security, and gets settled on the plane. The flight includes safety instructions, snacking, and cloud-watching. After landing they must wait for their luggage before going outside and into the arms of the children’s grandparents. Engagingly detailed page spreads offer intriguing and whimsical elements, from the family’s interactions, to fellow travelers, some of who can be followed or found again at journey’s end, to airport signs and scenes. Meanwhile, monkey’s parallel journey in the suitcase includes a surprising and sweet encounter with a live dog in the cargo hold. (Horizontally split pages show the progress of the luggage—and monkey—at the bottom.) Speech bubble dialogue adds additional humor to an inviting and informative primary narrative (“Inside the airport you stand in lines. You stand in lines to get your ticket. You stand in lines to check your bags. There are lines for the restrooms. There are lines to go through security.”) Closing endpapers show the mixed-race (Black/white) family on a sunny beach in a book that will delight young children, travelers or not. ©2016 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Try these early literacy activities with children:

  • Read: As you read, pay special attention to repeating characters from page to page. For example, where is monkey? How does monkey’s journey differ from the family’s journey? How about other people on the plane?
  • Talk: About other things that fly.
  • Sing: Sing, listen to, or watch “The Airplane Song” by Laurie Berkner and do the actions.
  • Write: Write a plane ticket, make a passport.
  • Play: Line up chairs to pretend you’re on an airplane! Discuss airplane safety.
  • Math or Science: With a grown-up make and play with a paper airplane. Experiment with different shapes, sizes and weights. How can you get your plane to go further or faster?

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