Sunday, June 24, 2012

Book #177: Jamberry by Bruce Degen

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A small, barefooted boy and a bear with a purple top hat go on a berry picking adventure. The journey begins calmly but soon become a berry explosion! The two friends travel by canoeberry and trainberry as they romp their way to Berryland. A razzamatazzberry berryband greets their arrival and waves them off in a hotberry balloon while berryworks explode around them.

The rhyming text trips off the tongue easily and there’s something magical about being completely surrounded in berries. The illustrations are full of fun details, such as jelly roll flowers growing around the raspberry jam skating rink and the mice sitting in their boat, the Jelly Bean II. The story features easily differentiate blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries.

The bear and the boy also count the berries. If you have berries (strawberries and blueberries are best because they don’t squish so easily) get out some plastic containers and practice counting. Use different colored containers so you can ask questions like, “How many blueberries are in the green cup?” or “Are there more strawberries in the blue bowl or the white bowl?” If it’s not berry season, make berries out of Playdoh or try one of these edible dough recipes.

Also available as a board book, this is a great book for infants through kindergarten age children. Although kids will probably enjoy looking through the pages on their own, it’s really reading it out loud that brings the magic to the book.

After you read about berries and jam, you’re probably going to want to sing about them. Try Picked a Strawberry or Strawberry patch. And if you just can’t get enough Jelly, try the classic Peanut Butter and Jelly song or this new a cappella PBJ song I found while researching for this post.

This is a fantastic book to read before picking berries. Do a bit of Googling and you may find a U-pick farm close by. Even if you don’t pick very many berries, it’s a wonderful way to talk about how berries grow and to see the berries in different stages from flower to falling off the vine ripe.


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