This week for kindergarten David and I are spending time with one of our favorite Five in a Row books, this 1998 Caldecott winner by Jane Yolen. This book is one of those great children’s books that are beautifully written and really appealing to kids. A young girl and her father go for a walk in the woods for her first trip owling. Yolen perfectly captures the excitement of a small child out for a grownup adventure with her father and the beauty of the still woods.
I reviewed this new book by Jim Arnosky last week as it’s on the non-fiction Cybils shortlist but it’s good enough to mention twice. I knew my boys would love this one and I was right. They discovered it in the book basket on their own and have enjoyed looking at it together, on their own and with me. John even got it out to read sections to his grandparents on the phone ( thank goodness for patient grandparents).
The other book we’ve enjoyed many readings of this week is this one by Narelle Oliver. A screech owl goes out hunting for food for its babies but on each page the prey camouflages itself. Each two page layout is a seek and find for the camouflaged animals. The drawings are wonderfully detailed. The owl does finally catch one of the other animals, which I suppose could be disturbing to some kids. It’s presented in a matter of fact, low key way. My kids were fine with it, we’ve always handled death in nature as just a fact of nature. The owl isn’t mean it’s just acting like an owl. I find my kids understand that idea well from an early age. This was a great book for all three of my kids, the boys in particular loved competing with each other to spot the animals on each page first.
We’ve also read some fiction books about owls. Martin Waddell’s Owl Babies is one of my favorite picture books so we had to go back and re-read it. Three owl babies are left home alone when their mother goes out hunting. They anxiously await her return. The charm is in the interplay between the owl siblings, with the oldest trying hard to be brave and the youngest repeating the refrain “I want my Mommy.” It’s a very sweet book that all my kids have enjoyed. They still all like revisiting it but it’s best for the very young. We’ve also enjoyed Hoot by Jane Hissey and The Owl Who Was Afraid of the Dark by Jill Tomlinson.
This book by Greg Foley is a celebration of imagination reminiscent of Harold and his famous crayon. Willoughby is a small boy afraid of the dark who is worried when the moon disappears. Imagine his excitement to find a giant snail and the moon in his closet. The snail has lost his silver ball and needs Willoughby’s help to find it. Don’t try and make sense of that story. Just trust me, it works well. The illustrations are all in black and silver ink and are stunning. We read the first Willoughby book last year which is also a beautifully illustrated ode to childhood imagination.
And finally, would any homeschooling study of owls be complete without the dissection of an owl pellet? No. No it wouldn’t. We’ll be doing the dissection on Friday but I’ve taken a look already at this new resource I ordered. We’ve done the owl pellet before but this book comes with a pellet and a very nice little book on owls that I think will make the dissection that much more worthwhile.
Be sure to stop by Hope is the Word for more Read Aloud Thursday!