You know, aside from the stress inherent in teaching two older students while wrangling a two year old, I am really enjoying this bonus shot at overseeing and observing the learning process of a toddler once again. As most older parents who have a bit of distance between their firstborn and their lastborn know, it is so interesting and gratifying to sit back and watch the process through experienced eyes. I feel like I might even get it right this time. 😉 I shared some of the DLM’s favorites back in March. Today I’m again sharing a few of the DLM’s current favorites, ones that I realize now are ideal preschool books. I’m not a fan of intentional academic preschool for little bitty kids, but I think the way we do it, spread out over oh, four or five years, is just about right. 😉
Trucks Go by Steve Light is a language lover’s delight. This large-format picture book (it’s long and narrow, maybe about twice as long as the usual board book and about the same width) is chock full of onomatopoeia. I bought this one for the DLM on his second birthday, hoping that it would pique his interest since he had recently begun giving his play-time sound effects–you know, the requisite “vrrrrrm” sound when he plays with cars, which no one remembers having taught him. 🙂 The book is deceptively simply–a two page spread of a type of truck on one page, and the facing page says something like this:
THE GARBAGE TRUCK GOES,
BURBABA BURBABA BURBABA
Let me tell you, nothing will take a reader down a peg or two than having to make all the distinct sounds of a garbage truck, a box truck, an auto carrier, a tanker truck, a fire truck, a tow truck, a cement truck, and a horse trailer! The text is in all caps and gets larger, line-by-line. The background of each page of text is a solid primary color. All of this certainly encourages reading it with vim and vigor. The illustrations themselves are simple, kid-pleasing watercolor paintings. (See examples of Steve Light’s artwork on his website.) (Chronicle, 2008)
Everybody knows Bill Martin, Jr. and John Archambault‘s Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, right? I’ll be honest and say that I have never loved ABC books, but I’m seeing them with new, DLM inspired eyes, and the board book Chicka Chicka ABC is definitely a winner around the House of Hope. This sing-songy tribute to the letters of the alphabet as they make their way up the coconut tree is just plain fun. I love the fact that all of the letters are in lower case since most words the DLM will encounter as a beginning reader in a few years will be, too. Lois Ehlert‘s illustrations are classic. (Little Simon, 1989)
Cleo’s Counting Book by Caroline Mockford is such a fun way for a toddler or preschooler to learn the numbers one through ten. I love that all the numbers are listed in order across the bottom of the first two-page spread. The next eight spreads are typical for a counting book–Cleo is pictured with a number of items as she goes about her neighborhood. The book ends with Cleo counting from one to ten again, all on one page, and then the last page has Cleo counting backwards. I love that! This book has lots and lots of repetition, which is just what does the trick. I think this book plus the DLM’s usual seat in my lap while I play RightStart Math card games with my girls are what has taught him to recognize his numbers with a high degree of accuracy. This book gets bonus points with him because it’s about a cat (which he loves) and the illustrations are bright and appealing. (Barefoot Books, 2003)
These last couple of books are honestly not ones I really enjoy reading aloud, but the DLM will pick these over many of our other books. I’ve come to appreciate these simple concept books which basically contain words and pictures but no story or plot. For example, the Bible book is mostly a simple collection of photographic images of things found in the Bible: foods, animals, everyday tools, etc. About halfway through the book it goes from being simply identification of objects to counting, colors, shapes, and sizes. The numbers book is similar except that it also includes some simple math problems at the end. For a two year old, learning that everything has a name and what that name is is important. These books allow us to start at identifying some pretty interesting objects and things and then move into classifying and categorizing them. Although we don’t have many opportunities to identify a jackal in our day to day existence, the DLM pretty much has it and other Bible animals down cold by now. 🙂 (Dorling Kindersley).
All of these books earn the DLM’s seal of approval and a Highly Recommended from the House of Hope. What are your favorite toddler and/or preschool books?
**Oh, and just in case you missed it, I was honored to be this week’s Homeschool Guest at Homegrown Learners. What did I write about? Reading aloud, of course!