Rating: 4.5 stars
This (pretty random) book illustrates perfectly the truism: it pays to have a good relationship with one's librarian. Once again, I have Ben to thank for this lesson. Mr. Steven, his current favorite librarian, is oh-so-patient with Ben's imperfectly-spoken but always-earnest requests. Of Ben's current current interests, sports is still at the top. But, thanks to a long unit on birds in his pre-Kindergarten class, he's been looking for books on birds in between looking for birds out his window. And, he's very interested in the United States. In the past, Mr. Steven found him a DK Book on the United States and Texas, which Ben pored through quietly in one sitting.
|Jonathan's home state is home to: |
the Mardi Gras-partying Brown Pelican
"LOOK!" he said. "It's a book about birds AND the United States! Mr. Stephen found it for me!"
We've renewed it once already, and I think Ben might cry the day we actually have to return it. We've read it cover to cover twice. It's such a funny little book with funny little drawings--and that funniness is actually largely adult humor (for example, on the Tennessee page the bird is made to look like Elvis, and I had to explain why that was funny to Ben...although he knows what Elvis sounds like, he doesn't know what he looks like. Well, until now!). But Ben loves it.
Each page is dedicated to a state, and a big, usually silly illustration covers most of the page. There are facts about the state--state anthem, state song, state capital, notable people from the state. Also included are lots of little random things about the state that are fun to know. For example:
- Kool-Aid was invented in Nebraska.
- Maine supplies 99% of the blueberries consumed and 90% of the toothpicks used in the U.S.
- Illinois is home to the world's largest cookie producer, Nabisco. In 1995 they made 16 billion Oreos!
- Inspired by the view from Pike's Peak, CO, Katharine Lee Bates wrote "America the Beautiful."
|Ben and Kiefer look for birds on a snowy morning...|
I've written before about the huge effect the book Last Child in the Woods had on me eight years ago, but this unit on birds reminds me how great it is to:
- Be in a natural environment as much as possible (breathing in that fresh air)
- Be quiet and still in that environment (and, therefore, practicing quietness and stillness)
- Observe things happening in that environment with all of your senses (with birds, definitely sight and sound, but how can kids not also listen to the wind and feel it on their skin?)
- Note the uniqueness of each bird's markings and calls (what a lesson: within a group, each is different and special in their own way!)