When John and David were in preschool, I used Five in a Row with each of them. I loved the gentle curriculum but thought it might be nice to do something different with Ruth. I was afraid that if I did the same thing with her I might not approach it with a fresh excited look. I started the year planning to do an Around the World preschool approach and that lasted for roughly two countries. We’re pretty structured for school for the boys and I think I just burnt out on trying to plan and be structured with preschool also. So I’ve decided to just pick topics that sound good and read about them and see where that gets us.
The past three weeks we’ve been reading about bears, inspired by our planned trip to the zoo to see the new panda cub. But we’ve branched out from pandas and read about all kinds of bears. David likes to listen in while we do “Ruth school” so we’ve also reviewed mammals and a bit about classification and we’ve talked a bunch about hibernation and migration and the difference between the two. David has also been studying the woods (part of an ongoing study of different habitats) and memorizing Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost so it’s all come together well. Probably better than if I had planned it all out.
Here are some of the many bear books we’ve enjoyed.
Polar Bear Morning is the new companion to the award-winning Polar Bear Night by Lauren Thompson. It’s a simple story: a polar bear cub wakes up, goes out to play in his Arctic home and finds a friend. The clean crisp illustrations are visually appealing and the text is playful.
We also enjoyed Mark Newman’s non-fiction book about Polar Bears. The author is a photographer who has worked for National Geographic and the photo illustrations are stunning. Each page has a single sentence describing polar bears: they are big, patient,hungry, not really white. Smaller text elaborates on the idea in the first sentence for older kids who want to learn more.
Technically, there isn’t a bear in this book, although the unseen BIG HUNGRY BEAR is a character, sort of. Don and Audrey Wood’s The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry, and The Big Hungry Bear has been a favorite of ours for a long time. So much so that John made sure we didn’t read it until he was there. This despite having heard this very short and simple book many many times. A mouse picks a strawberry. The narrator notices but warns the mouse that the big hungry bear who loves strawberries might come and steal it. The mouse tries to find ways to hide it or disguise it but the narrator finds problems with each idea. Finally, the narrator suggests a solution that is the only way to make sure that the big hungry bear doesn’t get the strawberry. The solution has my kids giggling everytime as it suggests that perhaps the narrator isn’t so innocent.
Other Bear Books:
Our Three Bears by Ron Hirschi- Beautiful photographs accompany this look at the three bears in North America (black, brown and polar).
Bear Books previously reviewed (including our favorites by Karma Wilson and Bonny Becker)
and even More Bears
Books On Hibernation:
Sleep, Black Bear, Sleep by Jane Yolen and Heidi E.Y. Stemple- Sweet rhyming lullaby looking at many different hibernating animals.
A Den is Bed for a Bear by Becky Baines This one inspired quite a few blanket and chair and couch pillow “dens” being made.
Hibernation Station by Michelle Meadows Fun, kind of silly look at hibernation for preschoolers.
Turtle Spring by Deborah Zagwyn Obviously no about bears. I think David especially enjoyed this more complex and very sweet story about Clee, a girl who thinks her beloved turtle has died in the winter. She buries him under the compost heap, only to find in the spring that he returns to her. There is a lot more going on here, as Clee also learns to accept her new baby brother and anxiously awaits her father’s return home from a job that has him gone the whole winter. It’s a beautifully done story and book.
Stop by Read Aloud Thursday for more great read aloud recommendations. Consider participating this month! It would be great to see what you are all reading with your kids.