Last week at the library I was browsing the children’s fiction picture book section. My eyes fell on these two books, which were displayed face-out on the shelf.
Perfect. Classic children’s stories my kids don’t know yet. What I love about this author is that he tells the stories in a traditional way, without throwing in any weird plot twists, sanitized endings, or politically correct statements about animals.
Also, some of our sight words are in big, bold type! However, when we read books like this, I try hard not to make it into a “lesson.” Sometimes you just have to read for fun. Lately, we’ve had about 30 minutes to fill between the end of lunch and the beginning of rest time. That is our “let’s read our new library books” time.
I love our local library system. I can log on and request books from any branch, and have them delivered to the branch we plan to visit soon. So, I requested almost twenty other versions of both The Little Red Hen and Henny Penny, also known as Chicken Little.
I absolutely love doing this. I love to see how different authors and illustrators interpret the same story. (I also love to listen to my iPhone playlist with the songs in alphabetical order, so the same song will come up several times in a row, but by different artists. But that’s a different topic.)
We picked up the first few holds today.
As you can see, The Little Red Hen can be interpreted as a cartoon,
or as a bizarre photo collage using real animals wearing clothes.
We read each of these once, maybe twice today after lunch and the again after rest time. When Keith got home, Lydia declared that she was going to read these books to him. She “read” several of them to him with surprising accuracy, remembering how the plot lines and phrases within each book varied from each other. I love the child brain.
Later that evening, Lydia started asking each of us which character we would like to be from Henny Penny. I chose Foxy Loxy. Lydia was Henny Penny, Keith was Goosey Loosey, and Luke was Ducky Lucky. (In case you need reminded, the plot line is that Henny Penny feels an acorn drop on her head, declares that the sky is falling, gets several other farmyard fowl to go with her to tell the king about the sky, and they all get tricked and eaten by the sneaky fox at the end.)
First she set up an upside down hamper with a squishy baseball on top. These are the oak tree and acorn.
She pecked the ground, then knocked over the hamper, but the acorn wouldn’t land on her head,
so she and Keith tried a different approach.
Then she got Ducky Lucky and Goosey Loosey to come with her into the fox’s cave,
complete with a sterilite cooking pot.
She prefers the ending where the hen outsmarts Foxy Loxy at the end and no one gets eaten, so that’s the one we acted out. As Foxy Loxy, I enjoyed pretending to take a nap. I got to close my eyes for a few moments.
As we get into the daily grind of homeschooling, I want to make sure we continue leaving time for this unscripted kind of learning. All I did was read her several picture books today and this is what happened. She compared and contrasted the different versions of the stories, decided which version she liked best, and proved that she comprehended the text by “reading” it back to us and then acting it out.
I can’t wait to pick up the rest of the library holds in a few days.