Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Won't You Read to Me? Wednesday

I had big plans of sharing a different book this week, but something happened and my best friend gave his god daughter a sweet belated birthday present, and in fact this is what we have been working on(*) this week.....

by Janell Cannon

*by "working on", I mean that we have been reading it in sections. This is a WONDERFUL book, but the vocabulary is advanced and for a picture book, I would say it was slightly above moderate in length. I usually try to feature books that are geared toward Ann Peyton's developmental level, because that is typically what we are reading. But, this was a very special present and I remember loving it the first time I read it when I was in the Reading Block during college. It was just as beautiful as I remembered and frankly, I think that it is good for us to occasionally read books that are a little more mature than what we "should" be reading; hearing words that oft go unspoken in our daily interactions with her is of great benefit to her little mind, I believe.

This book tells the story of Stellaluna, a baby bat who is separated from her mother and finds refuge with a family of birds. The birds welcome Stellaluna, but with the stipulation she will follow the "house rules", such as eating bugs, sleeping at night, and not hanging upside down. It all gets to be too much for Stellaluna and she flies away. When she finally finds a place to rest, she remembers her promise not to hang upside down and dutifully falls asleep right side up. A group of bats find her and ask why she is upside down. She tells them that they, in fact, are the ones that are upside down and they explain that she is upside down for a bat.

Eventually, Stellaluna finds her momma who explains that it's ok for her to be wide awake at night, sleep upside down, and eat fruit, because that's what bats do! Stellaluna tries to share her experiences with her bird friends, but of course, they can't fly at night like she can. They wonder how they can possibly be so alike, yet so different. They agree that it is a great mystery, but that the important thing is that they are friends.

The value of this book lies largely in the way Janell Cannon intricately weaves together very interesting factual information about bats with a charming animal story that easily captivates young children. Much of the information in the book could be found in a nonfiction book on bats, but that wouldn't be near as interesting nor as entertaining in the eyes of a child. The illustrations are also beautiful and from what I have read, amazingly accurate depictions.

Another thing I love about this book is the vocabulary it introduces. Since a good chunk of the book is informational, children will learn several new words from that alone. But the author also uses other very descriptive words in her narrative (crooned, anxious, and perched, ect.).

A final thing that I took away from the book is that it is a lesson in diversity. It is a goal of mine and Peyton's that when Annie encounters differences in people and contemplates the mystery of it, she will be able to say, just like Stellaluna did, "But we're friends. And that's a fact". Actually, it is easily the most important "fact" in this wonderfully written children's book.

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Allison said...

In response to your comment on my post:

Of course I remember your bed rail! Ha. That memory still provides me with comic relief every now and then.

I also remember eating your salt and vinegar chips all the time. They were so addictive! I told myself I'd only eat a couple, and before I knew it, I'd devoured the entire bag. That started my love affair with salt and vinegar chips that continues to this day, and it's all your fault!

Carrie said...

We need to get Aubrey and Ann Peyton to start their own little book club. Ha!

As far as why our mattress was in the sitting room... David pulled the carpet up himself, so he put the mattress in the sitting area so he would have more time to pull up the carpet in the bedroom (it's bigger and more time consuming). We moved the mattress out the day we got the carpet and pulled up the carpet in the sitting area in no time. That's probably WAY more info than you wanted, but you asked! :)

Tiffany said...

I love Stellaluna, and my children love it too. So glad you featured it this week. I didn't get around to posting this week, but I will next week. Hope all is well! ~Blessings!