Archive for Literacy

Books About Leaves

I have been absent for several weeks now from this blog. We have simply been very busy around here, and something had to give! We have been taking a break from themed art projects, but we have still been reading, reading, reading!

The leaves have been dropping like crazy here up north, and I am loving it. Autumn is my favorite season. It’s a shame it doesn’t last longer.
Here are some books I picked up at the library about leaves! Click on the covers to learn more about each book; the link will bring you to Amazon.


Our favorites were The Little Yellow Leaf and Leaf Man. Honestly, I loved them all! I had a hard time finding any autumn books at the library, actually; I think many parents had my same idea! Here are some more I looked for but couldn’t find:

Fall Leaves by Liesbet Slegers
Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf by Lois Ehlert
Autumn is Here! by Heidi Pross Gray
It’s Fall! by Linda Glaser
We’re Going on a Leaf Hunt by Steve Metzger
Awesome Autumn by Bruce Goldstone
Autumn Leaves by Ken Robbins
Mouse’s First Fall by Lauren Thompson
Happy reading!

Books About Trees

I put this list together for part of our preschool Forest theme, so I left out books that dealt with rainforests. We will do a rainforest theme separately.

I noticed while putting this list together that many ‘tree’ books are rather sad stories. I left those off the list. I think those books have their place, and that the subjects addressed in them (death, selfishness, etc) would be better suited for an actual discussion of those ideas.

Here are the books we selected for our Tree week! Click on the book covers for more information. This post contains affiliate links.


Here are some I had on lists but didn’t get to use myself:

The Growing Up Tree by Vera Rosenberry
Old Elm Speaks: Tree Poems by Kristine O’Connell
Around the Oak by Gerda Muller
A Tree is Growing by Arthur Dorros
Meeting Trees by Scott R. Sanders
Have You Seen Trees? by Joanne Oppenheim
The Happiness Tree by Andrea Alban Gosline
The Oak Inside the Acorn by Max Lucado
Busy Tree by Jennifer Ward
The Tree by Karen Gray Ruelle
Gus is a Tree by Claire Babin and Olivier Tallec
Tell Me, Tree: All About Trees for Kids by Gail Gibbons
Where Once There Was a Wood by Denise Fleming

As you can see, there are oodles of tree books. Happy reading!

Camping Theme, Part 2

Part 2 of our camping theme centered around hiking and fishing. I have to say this was one of our most enjoyable weeks of preschool!

This post contains affiliate links.

Here is our book list.  The book We’re Going on a Bear Hunt is an old favorite of ours, so it was a perfect candidate for us to center activities around. First, we made binoculars to take along on our bear hunt. I used two used toilet paper rolls and had Curly decorate them.

I provided markers and a variety of stickers.

I provided markers and a variety of stickers.

Then we glued them together. It may have been easier to staple them together, but I couldn’t find the stapler. In any case, white school glue worked just fine. Then I used a hole punch to punch holes large enough for yarn to fit through, and we had a pair of binoculars.

Next we made a ‘bear hunt snack’. I showed Curly how to make trail mix. We used cashews, raisins, and chocolate chips. We were now ready for our bear hunt!

Curly is very excited about the trail mix in this picture. Her finished binoculars are around her neck.

Curly is very excited about the trail mix in this picture. Her finished binoculars are around her neck. Sorry about the poor picture quality…someday I will get a real camera instead of always using my phone.

We headed out into the yard and pretty much just ran around pretending to go through tall grass, wade through a river, get through mucky mud, etc, all while quoting the book. We finally made it to the ‘bear cave’ , which was simply her fort made of sticks we made a couple weeks ago. We then ran like mad back through our make-believe obstacle course of mud and rivers, to finally make it back to our house and jump under blankets on the couch. By this time she was giggling like mad, and I have to admit I quite enjoyed myself. Now Curly asks to go on a bear hunt almost every day.

We did a fish craft that I’ve seen suggested many times. You have your child paint bubble wrap and stamp paper to create the effect of fish scales. It worked pretty well!

I taped the bubble wrap around her hand to make it easier to work with.

I taped the bubble wrap around her hand to make it easier to work with.

She really enjoyed the stamping part! I had already traced a fish shape onto the paper to make it easy to cut out.

She really enjoyed the stamping part! I had already traced fish shapes onto the paper to make it easy to cut out.

I did most of the cutting out of the fish, although she did do a little herself. Then she glued the fish onto some blue construction paper.



For a fish snack I made blue jello (for the first time EVER; we never have jello) with gummy worms in it. Lo and behold, my child thinks jello is disgusting. I had to feed it all the husband, who gleefully devoured it. At least it didn’t go to waste!

We did another fish snack that was much more of a hit. All you do is have your child dip pretzel sticks in peanut butter, and then use the sticky pretzel stick to pick up fish crackers. Fishing with crackers! I really wanted to take her on a real fishing trip, but we didn’t have any time to even plan it. We settled on eating fish snacks and reading books about fishing instead.

I grew up in a place where we went fishing almost every day near our house, all summer long, so I have really nostalgic feelings about fishing. I hope she can experience some of the same childhood that I did!

For a math activity I used a bunch of plastic cups we had on hand and wrote numbers on them. Then I had her count out marbles into each cup. I will be saving the cups for many other math activities.

This time of year the prairie is just bright with wildflowers, so I took Curly out to cut some with me to put on the kitchen table. We found mostly daisies and wild sunflowers.

We had a great week!

Picture Books About Camping

Here are some books about camping, hiking, fire safety, and fishing!

Click on the books for more information. This post contains affiliate links.


Here’s a few more that I had on a list but didn’t find myself:
A Camping Spree With Mr. Magee by Chris Van Heusen
S is for S’mores by Helen Foster James
Boris Goes Camping by Carrie Weston
Stanley Goes Fishing by Craig Frazier
Wishing I Was Fishing by Eva Wells
When Peter Was Lost in The Forest by Hans Peterson
Happy camping!

Picture Book Favorites

Since I’ve started weekly themes with Curly, I haven’t been posting our regular ‘favorite books’ discoveries. I have been keeping track of them, however. I have to say that I am falling in love with picture books. I don’t think I appreciated them as a child, or at least I appreciate them much more now. I love how so much can be told with simple words and simple illustrations, or how beautiful poetry and gorgeous illustrations meant for kids can move me, an adult. Kudos to children’s book writers! They accomplish something special.

Here are some recent favorites! Click on the book images to get more information. This post contains affiliate links.

I highlighted this book by Melanie Watt in our theme about friends and feelings. Curly really loves this book!

Red Sings From Treetops: A Year in Colors by Joyce Sidman would be one of MY picks. Curly sat and listened to it, but wasn’t too into it. I absolutely love the language in this book. The beautiful and descriptive poetry uses colors to describe the seasons in a way I had never read before. It may be that Curly would like it more if she was older; in any case, if your child (or yourself) digs poetry, this is a great pick. This is a Caldecott Honor Book. I noticed that one of her other books, Swirl by Swirl, is also one of our favorites. I’m going to have to check out her other books!

The Sleepy Little Alphabet by Judy Sierra had Curly giggling, which is always a good sign. The parent letters (the capitals) are trying to get the little letters to go to bed, but the little letters have baths to take, dollies to tuck in, and books to read before they are ready. I always appreciate alphabet books that integrate both the upper and lowercase letters. It’s done in a joyful way in this story!

The Lion and the Mouse by Jerry Pinkney is a mostly wordless book, but Aesop’s fable is told here with lush and detailed illustrations. I think I’m finally getting the appeal of wordless books – when I first was introduced to them I felt like I had been cheated out of a book! For a wordless book to really work, the illustrations have to really be something spectacular, in my opinion. Mr. Pinkney accomplishes the task with this book. Really, it can be fun to tell the story in your own words, or have your child tell the story based on the pictures. That’s when it gets really interesting. This one is a Caldecott Medal winner.

Jazz Baby by Lisa Wheeler is a fun one to read for the way it makes you feel; I dare you to read this book without swaying or dancing in your chair. If you accomplish that you need to read it again, because you didn’t get the feeling of the book! With words like “So they Toot-toot-toot and snap-snap-snap and the bouncin’ baby bebops with a clap-clap-clap!” it is a fun one to read to get everyone involved and moving; however I wouldn’t suggest it at bedtime. 🙂 This book received the Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor award.

The Bee Tree by Patricia Polacco is one that has been on our list for a long time and we finally got to read it. Mary Ellen declares to her Grandfather that she is tired of reading, so he takes her to find a bee tree. Most of the village takes part in chasing bees back to their tree, and everyone shares the honey that is found. That in itself makes this a fun book, but the ending is especially good. Grandfather has a lesson for her.  You can find treasure in books, if you will just exert yourself to read them.