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Ideas Flow in Over in a River Flowing out to Sea

This week my wow! what a concept favorite picture book was Over in a River Flowing Out to Sea by Marianne Berkes and illustrated by Jill Dubin (2013 Dawn Publications).

With delightful rhyme to the tune of “Over in the Meadow”, Berkes introduces children to numerous concepts: numbers from 1-10, animals that live on or near rivers and the names of their babies, information about habitat from the pictures, names of their homes, and action or sound words associated with each animal.  There are a plethora of ideas one could use this book for, and many I thought of while reading are indeed listed at the back of the book.  I thought of many other possible classroom uses that are applicable for second through third grade.  This book can really help students with fluency with repeated readings and Reader’s Theatre activities.  It could also be used for science lessons on habitat, niches and food chains, as well as social studies extension ideas incorporating rivers of the US.  For a lesson plan incorporating my ideas and a script for a Reader’s Theatre please see: http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Reading-in-Science-Lesson-Plan-for-Over-in-a-River-by-Marianne-Berkes-1027531

This book is perfect for the elementary classroom.   A whimsical text that is fun to read, it begs to be used over and over.

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Again!

One of the best ways to immerse oneself in the world of picture book writing is to read LOTS of picture books.  It is also a very enjoyable part of the job.  As per the advice of Deborah Underwood (http://www.deborahunderwoodbooks.com/), an instructor at the first writing conference I’ve ever attended, I go to the library once a week and read about ten current picture books.  Periodically I will review a favorite from my reading sessions.

A recent favorite is Again! by Emily Gravett (2011 by Simon and Shuster).  Picture books can be tricky because one is actually writing to two very different audiences, children and adults.  Again!  does this brilliantly speaking to both child and adult as it tells the story of a young dragon who wants his bedtime story read again and again.  Parents and children will relate and get a laugh at the ending.  Gravett is also the illustrator.  Again!  depicts beautifully the intricate dance between image and text that is so important in picture books.  I find myself thinking about this book again and again!  Check it out (http://www.emilygravett.com/).